I feel like this is a not uncommon series of events when I’m faced with a problem:
- I have a problem.
- I try to fix the problem, to no avail.
- I resign myself to the problem being unsolvable.
- Shortly afterwards, the problem is resolved with minimal effort on my part.
For example, suppose I’ve lost a set of keys. I spend a while searching the flat for them, to no avail. I give up, sit down and perhaps call somebody to whinge about it – and then spot them sitting in front of me. Complaining about it is often the precursor to discovering it’s been fixed.
Is there a phrase that describes this feeling, of a problem that solves itself shortly after you’ve given up?
I’ve often said Murphy’s law or sod’s law of the universe to describe this sort of event, but I don’t think that’s accurate – this isn’t a bad thing (far from it!), it’s just a shorthand to say “it’s a weird quirk of life”.
I considered the term heisenbug, but (1) that seems a bit technical, and (2) the problem is solved, not reproducing intermittently. To me, a heisenbug is still a concern even if it doesn’t reproduce on demand, because it might recur later. That’s not the case here.
Perhaps this is some form of irony? I was thinking perhaps situational irony, but I’m aware that this is a heavily overused term, and I’m not sure if it’s accurate here.
I’ve tried googling, and looking back through old phrase-request questions, to no avail. I’m not sure if there’s a term I’m not finding, or if this is just less common than I think.