Sunday, February 23, 2014

Bringing the Serendipity Back to Contingency

We went hiking yesterday at Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks National Monument, tucked away over on the Cochiti Pueblo. We're trying to get back into our weekend hikes and New Mexico has so many lovely, overlooked places to do that. It was a deliciously warm and sunny afternoon, we got out of the house, away from work and got to play. !

Highly recommend!

*makes note to take own advice in future*

So, when I looked up the Word of the Week - "contingency"- I groused to myself and speculated on which of my bordello-mates picked such a dull word. Mulling it over, I decided I'd pretty much only ever used the word paired with "plan," such as a contingency plan for if things go all to hell. "Contingency" by itself is really a word only lawyers use, right?

I did what I always do in these cases - pulled out my enormous, hard, 5-inch thick Webster's Deluxe Unabridged Dictionary. The definition of contingency is singularly unhelpful, being "the quality or condition of being contingent" variety that our teachers would never let us use so why does Webster's get to??

But going to "contingent," well then! See, I think I've only used "contingent" in a faux lawyerly way (as I'm not a lawyer, never played one on TV and really only trot out such terms to make myself sound more authoritative or some such). For example, I might say "My sending you that deliverable is contingent on you providing clear, written direction on the interpretation of this regulation." See how that works? Instant Faux Lawyer.

Turns out "contingent" is much more interesting than I thought. Better, it shares a great deal with one of *my* favorite words: serendipity.

Who knew?

That's right. "Contingent" means "happening by chance, accidental, fortuitous."

I love me some fortuitous.

So, we can revitalize "contingency." Use it to describe something "whose occurrence depends on chance or uncertain conditions."

It can be more than a plan, more than faux lawyer pronouncement. Offer me some fun contingencies!