Social Question

TheOnlyException's avatar

To you what does it mean to be in 'The wrong place at the right time'?

Asked by TheOnlyException (2182points) May 3rd, 2010

I was watching a documentary Modern Masters: Andy Warhol on BBC1 this morning, and it talked about when he was shot at one point, when asked about what happened all he said was “I was in the wrong place at the right time”

This struck me as strangely profound, but for the life of me I could not put my finger on as to why.
I sat there for a little while trying to apply it to situations that have occurred in my life, but still couldn’t pinpoint it. I know that it would be something that would throw a positive aspect on certain parts of life, but I just can’t get to the bottom of it.

So I want your opinions on what it means, give examples of situations where you think it applies, is it just another way of saying a happy coincidence?

The best I could come up with was when I have wanted to see someone whom i really care for, and going out of my way to see them, but being unable to get there because of some obstacle (like a late bus or something simple) and instead having to settle for going somewhere else for the evening, (i.e. the wrong place as opposed to where I should have been) and then seeing them there instead and it actually turning out to be the right time just that I was in the wrong place.

But that is a bit ambiguous

Observing members: 0 Composing members: 0

28 Answers

partyparty's avatar

My father was killed in a car accident by a speeding driver. If he had set off from home five minutes earlier or later, then perhaps he wouldn’t have encountered this driver.
I miss him to this day

TheOnlyException's avatar

@partyparty I am so sorry that happened. Do you mean in that it was the wrong place for him to be but at the ‘right’ (use this word very loosely) time for the accident to take place?
Again so sorry that happened :(

LuckyGuy's avatar

On that gorgeous Tuesday morning, I’d say the workers who made it to their Twin Towers offices a little early were: “Wrong Place, Right Time.”

@partyparty I am sorry for your loss.

TheOnlyException's avatar

@worriedguy That’s an interesting answer. Can you explain it a little more? Do you mean right time as in the right time for the horrific events to unfold and the wrong place for them to be clearly..
I am still a little fuzzy on this, but am getting there.

partyparty's avatar

@TheOnlyException Yes that’s exactly what I mean. Had my dad left our home earlier or later then he perhaps wouldn’t have been near the speeding driver, and wouldn’t have been hit by this lunatic. If only things had been different. I still become very emotional when I think about it

partyparty's avatar

@worriedguy I don’t think the world will every forget the Twin Towers. If only….

with tears in my eyes Many thanks, it still hurts for me to think about my dad.

slick44's avatar

So being at the wrong place at the right time, Is kinda like a “What if, or a If only”.

jfos's avatar

@slick44 No, I don’t think it’s a “What if” or an “If only”... It’s acknowledgment of an incidental negative experience.

If you ran out of gas while driving and had to pull over, and while you were waiting, a meteorite landed on top of your car, you would have been at “the wrong place at the right time.”

The opposite of this is “the right place at the right time.” If you ran out of gas while driving and had to pull over, and while you were waiting, the wind blew $100 against your windshield, you would have been at “the right place at the right time.”

wonderingwhy's avatar

It’s a bit like saying you got a little to close to the fire. You were where you wanted/needed to be but became more involved than hoped for.

nebule's avatar

I don’t think the saying explains what we generally take to be it’s proper meaning.

What we mean is that what we thought was the wrong place at the wrong time, actually turned out to be the right place at the right time. You can be in the right place at the wrong times but I’m not entirely convinced that you can be in the wrong place at the right time – in the context of how we’re using this expression.

Right and wrong invariably involve a moral judgement in these circumstances, which makes analysing examples difficult but furthermore I think time and place are inextricably linked.

I think really if we are saying anything we should say partyparty’s dad was in the wrong place at the wrong time, same with the meteor example…

The facts are that we are in the place we are in at that time…there is not wrong or right about it. Things happen, they unfold as they are

ucme's avatar

Bending over to pick the soap up in the prison showers, hello!!!! Because i’d clean the offending perverts mouth out with said bar of soap.

noodlehead710's avatar

And what about “wrong place, wrong time”? Is that essentially the same, or is there a key difference in meaning between that and “wrong place, right time”?

john65pennington's avatar

Wife and i were in a casino in Indiana. this man had been playing this one slot machine for about three hours and no luck. he finally stood up and left. i was playing another slot machine, close by to my wife. wife came to me and said “this man has left that slot machine. go over and give it a try”. she gave me the name and location of this slot machine. as fate would have it, i went to the wrong slot machine, sat down and inserted a $100.00 dollar bill. after playing $2.00 each time for a total of $32.00, i reached down to the side of the machine to pick up my cup of coffee. i heard the machine make a whirling sound and then the bells rang and the lights flashed. i hit a jackpot. this was a triple times slot machine. on the payline was a triple, a red seven and another triple. wife came running. attendant asked me if i knew how much money i had won. i thought it was around $800.00. attendant asked me to look again. i won 81 times the total bet for triple, triple sevens or $9,720.00 dollars!

For me, this was a classic example of being at the wrong place at the right time. i mailed the money home in a cashiers check. opened the mailbox two days later and my winning money arrived. carpeted my whole house.

LuckyGuy's avatar

@TheOnlyException I tend to think of it like multiplying negative numbers.
Right place, Right time: + x+ = +, It’s a good thing. Went for a ride on the train
Wrong place Right time – x + = – Bad thing. Standing on the train tracks Hit by the train.
Right place, Wrong time + x – = – Bad thing. Train jumped the tracks and hit you
Wrong place, Wrong time – x – = Good thing. Missed the train wreck.

Seaofclouds's avatar

The way I’ve always thought about it is that somehow you ended up in the “wrong place” meaning you got lost or distracted on your way to somewhere else and something good ends up happening, thus the “right time”. So, for example, getting lost, stopping for directions, and meeting someone special or getting a job offer. You were technically in the “wrong place” but it ended up being the “right time”. I tend to think of the “right time” meaning something good and the “wrong time” meaning something bad. If I was lost and stopped for directions and walked into a store as it was being robbed or that got robbed while I was there, I would say I was in the wrong place at the wrong time.

For tragedies such as the World Trade Center, I think of them more as “the right place, wrong time”. The people there were where they needed to be, thus the “right place”, but there were there when the attacks happened, making it the “wrong time”.

gailcalled's avatar

The husband of one of my cousins was on his way, by train from Phila., to Tower 1 on 9/11. The train stalled before it reached the station. By then, the towers had fallen.

Wrong place, wrong time, dumb luck

TheOnlyException's avatar

@worriedguy i like your analysis :)

kess's avatar

there is no such thing in whatever variation.

all things happen for good and in it’s proper time.

gailcalled's avatar

@kess: (shrieks… its. It’s means it is.) I still don’t understand what you are saying.

That all actions are random and non-determinate?

12_func_multi_tool's avatar

I would answer with saying what we would call it when all solutions that should have worked, did not. We’d just say the spot was jinxed.

TheOnlyException's avatar

@gailcalled I thought its meant ‘it is’ and it’s meant as in belonging to. Like it’s hair. As opposed to its hair, which would mean ‘it is hair’

ah these damn mountains, they used to be molehills hehe ;)

gailcalled's avatar

@TheOnlyException: Ya got it backwards. Possession is its hair. With horror, the cat watched all its hair fall out.

It’s (It is) horrible to see a bald cat.

Kess’s example (a bad one due to combining the plural “all things” with the singular “its proper time.” )

It’s time to learn this.

The apostrophe replaces a letter; It’s (it is): I’d (I would); you’re (you are).

lloydbird's avatar

@TheOnlyException I suspect that it was no more than a typically vacuous, faux profound statement from an artist of questionable content/ability. A success in the Blag strand of art.

TheOnlyException's avatar

@gailcalled ah darn you just blew my mind! ahaha :)

gailcalled's avatar

It’s wonderful to have a sense of humor: I’d be proud of you if I were your mom.

yankeetooter's avatar

@TheOnlyException So would my experience be similar to what you cited in the original question, where I was trying to avoid someone because I thought that was for the best (not necessarily what I wanted), but then in my attempt to avoid them ended up running into them…my middle name is ironic.

Answer this question




to answer.
Your answer will be saved while you login or join.

Have a question? Ask Fluther!

What do you know more about?
Knowledge Networking @ Fluther