The beauty of good, bad timing


Lavette Williams, Editor-In-Chief


Everything in life is based on our timing.

A pocket watch hanging from a chain, wavering back and forth.

Timing. We learn about this at a very young age. When we first develop mobility skills, we learn that if we don’t time our footing just right, we can trip and fall. As we get older, we see that this same loss of balance can occur in other extents of our life as well if we are not careful.


There is good timing and there is bad timing. 

When I think of good timing, I think of coincidences … you know, the ones that make you think, “There are over 7 billion people on this Earth, but this happened to me. What are the odds?” I think of pulling up to the drive-thru window and realizing that the person in front of you already paid for your meal. I think not knowing how you are going to pay for something and then checking your account balance to find that you all of a sudden have ten-fold. 

When I think of bad timing, I think of  accidents. These make you question, “Ugh. Why me? Why now?” I think of driving to a friend’s house  in the middle of the night and getting a flat tire. I think of taking an exam and in the middle of the test, the power goes out. 

But just when I think I know all there is to know about timing, suddenly I do not know enough.

One day last week when running errands with my sister, a stranger stopped us. My sister, an employee at the grocery store that we were halted in front of, recognizes the man as a regular. His name was Buck, she told me later. 

Buck was an older man – wise, I can tell by the gray in his hair, genuine by the softness of his hazel eyes. I could not see his mouth from underneath his mask, but I imagine he was grinning from ear-to-ear as he asked us how we were. We told him that we were “good,” a simple, practiced and, if I was being honest, rushed response to his question. 

We were not trying to seem rude. It was just that my sister and I were on a mission. This had been one out of many other stops we were planning to make that day. Despite our silence, I remember him telling us about his day, about how he came to the store to get a money order, about how he believes that the pandemic is going to get worse. I remember glancing over his bony shoulder. I remember thinking that his presence was bad timing. I remember thinking, “Maybe, if this had been another day, if we were not running errands, I enjoy his company.” I remember nodding and smiling to be polite. 

Buck talked for a while before he paused, turning to look out at the parking lot. 

“You see that car around there,” He said finally, pointing. “My wife has been sitting out in the car. She’s probably going to be mad that I stood out here so long talking, but I enjoy doing it. You [girls] seem like good people. Who knows? Talking to you may have just saved my life. Maybe, you prevented me and my wife from leaving here and getting in a car accident. Maybe, I did the same. Maybe, I prevented [the two of you] from walking inside and something terrible happening.”

At that, I spoke up. 

“You’re right,” I said now smiling too. 

Suddenly, timing becomes more  than just an unknown force that is either working with or against you, more than just a coincidence or an accident. 

I understand that timing, whether it is what we consider to be good or bad timing, can also be a life saver.