noun: Pleasure derived from another’s misfortunes.
I don’t generally take pleasure in other people’s misfortunes but no-one is a complete angel so there are times when I have. Like the time, a few years after school, that I saw the girl who bullied me and made my life hell and she was fat. I couldn’t help but be a little smug about that. Or on occasion when people fall over – sometimes it’s just comedic. It looks funny. It is funny. It’s why slapstick comedy works, and it’s why movies like The Hangover get rave reviews – it makes you feel like you’re allowed to laugh at the misfortunes of others because it’s not actually real.
But I don’t want to discuss the meaning of this word to you or me, nor give you examples of when I feel said pleasure. Instead, I want to talk about the peculiarity of the fact that this word has randomly appeared in my life and since appearing has reared its head about 4 or 5 times in a very short time frame.
I first heard of the word ‘schadenfreude’ yesterday when I got my daily Word of the Day email (I know, I know, what a geek!). I then saw it again when Rarasaur put it up as this week’s Prompt for the Promptless topic. Even at that point it was a strange coincidence seeing as I know Rara wasn’t signed up to Word of the Day at that point so it’s not like that’s where she got her inspiration from. So I laughed a little and thought – what a coincidence.
Then, I was sitting at a pub and could overhear a conversation at the nearby table and someone else said it in conversation. Three times in one day – even weirder.
And again this morning, I was sitting in a meeting and my boss, who I happen to talk to incredibly often, and who I am always in meetings with, said the word again. I’m 99% sure he’s never used that word in my presence before but today, he did, and I (luckily) knew what he meant. Or maybe he had said it, but I didn’t know what it was so it washed over me. Now I’m aware of it, I’ve got a heightened understanding, so I noticed it?
I just find it fascinating that these coincidences or odd little moments happen. It happens all the time – you first take notice of someone on the tube, for example, because they bump into you or they sneeze or something and then you see them every single day, each time you’re on the tube. You probably walked past them a million times in the days and weeks and months previous to your taking notice of them but were unaware of the fact and so they/the moment didn’t stand out in your mind. Now you’re aware of it though, and you notice each time and you think ‘how funny that I always walk past that person’. It gets even weirder when suddenly you actually meet said person in a meeting or at the pub or something. Now that’s weird.
I know the universe is connected in more ways than we know or realise, but it feels odd when things like this happen, and I always find it fascinating. Or is it just me who notices these things?