As I clambered onto a parked Maltese Bus on a Wednesday afternoon, I was overwhelmed – almost suffocating – by the intricacy of its internal decoration, just as if it were a holy shrine.
My eyes darted from one relic to the next: attached below the dashboard was a large silver horse-shoe with a “good luck” painted neatly in a curvy blue script, bestowing upon the passengers an immediate sense of security. On either side of the centre-mirror, glowing above a flickering sort of light surrounded by a halo of plastic flowers were the peaceful staring faces of Jesus and Mary.
I was intrigued by all this, especially by the humoristic Maltese element of the crass slogans “don’t follow me I’m lost” and “meet me half-way” painted in tberfil across the windscreen.
Considering I was early and there was no one else on the bus, I sparked up a conversation with the two bus drivers on board. I mustered up the courage to divert from the usual useless small-talk about the sudden change of weather and dived into the topic of superstition.
One of the two drivers seemed taken aback by my curiosity and bluntly stated there was nothing for me to know apart from the fact that he was a very unlucky man. The other driver, also the owner of this four-wheeled embellishment seemed in the mood for a chat and keenly sympathised with my genuine interest. He passionately explained that his bus has been decorated in this manner for almost twenty years and does not intend having it any other way.
Superstitions have been among us since recorded history and are based on outdated facts that have been handed down from generation to generation. There are still many who believe that it is bad luck to see a black cat, open an umbrella indoors, or walk beneath a ladder, but whether all these beliefs hold is an entirely different story, and, ultimately, subject to an individual’s interpretation.
Common sense would tell you not to walk through a ladder because you would risk having something fall on your head; it is quite curious actually how this superstition is associated with religion. For instance, the triangle that is formed when a ladder is propped against the wall used to be associated to the Holy Trinity and walking through it would mean that you are “violating” this space.
The “lucky” driver’s clear blue eyes looked through me and I could easily tell that he had a more positive attitude towards life in general. He is a firm believer of good fortune, compared to his colleague. Whenever good things happen to him, he feels endowed with luck and thanks God; whenever good things happen to others, he wishes them all the goodness they have received and more. Perhaps this bus is indeed his luck charm.
The conversation with these drivers was smoother than the ride back home; they helped me realise that a belief in good or bad luck might actually transform a person’s life. From what I gather, “lucky” people tend to construct this positive framework within their minds. They make the best out of their misfortunes by spontaneously trying to imagine how the bad circumstances they encounter could have been worse.
These people are solely predisposed to expect good things to happen and will work hard in order to seek out for opportunities that would help them achieve and eventually be successful. Someone’s fate cannot possibly be determined solely by whether or not a person considers him/herself to be lucky. Fate is all about choosing the path of least resistance but then again, our freedom of choice is actually quite illusive. When several possibilities are open, we consider the risk of having to choose one.
Does luck determine making the right choices?
Luck is that enigmatic and unpredictable thing resulting in a good or bad outcome. Whatever it is, and wherever it comes from, it is something which we are still unable to rationalise. Whether you believe in luck or not, it is always there lurking somewhere, immiscible within our lives.
Let’s face it – none of us choose our ascribed characteristics or our parents’ occupation – impersonal luck is something we are born with. Luck might not necessarily be a force that guides our fate, but merely an attitude framed within one’s mind; it all depends on how much importance you give it.
Things will always fall into place, no matter how implausible the idea might sound.