coincidence

Trampolines, Swim Fins, and Half of a Roasted Pig

Hawaii on the brain

Hawaii on the brain

I am jumping on a large trampoline in a spacious, overgrown backyard. There are at least seven of us jumping simultaneously as a breeze rustles the palm fronds overhead. It’s sunny, warm, and peaceful. I am where I belong. A friend suggests we go shoe shopping. “I love shoes,” I think, so I am all over this change in plans. We hop off the trampoline and begin walking down a city street to the store. Along the way I am discussing what I should spend my shoe budget on…casual flip flops or a pair of statement heels. I know I don’t really need shoes because I’m in Hawaii, and barefoot is as good as anything in Hawaii but I am excited to shop just the same. As we walk along, I glance down at my friends’ feet. They are all wearing shoes. I am the only one who is barefoot. Apparently this trip is all about me.

When we get to the store and begin looking around, I can’t find a pair of shoes I like. I’m not entirely sure how it’s possible to be in a shoe store and not have anything pique my interest. Something is distinctly wrong. Finally my eyes land upon a pair of Mary-Jane-style, black Crocs. With considerable chagrin I note that these are the most suitable pair of shoes in the entire store. “I am not buying Crocs,” I think to myself, brows furrowed in frustration. Resignedly I lie down on the floor and fall asleep on my stomach, head on my arms, still without shoes but at least no longer concerned about my shoeless state.

I wake up when I come to the awkward realization that someone is rubbing my back. What the hell? Who is rubbing my back and why? “Personal space, personal space,” my mind screams. I look behind me and see an old friend of mine. I haven’t seen him since college. I’d forgotten he lived in Hawaii. He hasn’t aged.

“Your lower back is really messed up,” he tells me. “See this, here? This is not right,” he says, pointing to a couple of vertebrae that are obviously protruding where they should not be. His concern is palpable. “What have you been doing?” he asks.

“Jumping on a trampoline,” I reply.

“Well, I’ve got to get you to my chiropractor,” he says. “This is serious.”

He shoves an oxygen mask on my face, and as I choke on the unsolicited gas I note that it’s not oxygen because my alert-level changes and I go to some sort of happy place only achievable with something reality-warping like nitrous oxide.

When I come out of my haze, I am walking through a casino with my friend. People all around are gambling. It’s noisy, packed, and chaotic. I feel under dressed. I hear an odd noise I can’t place. Panicked, I check my feet. Gratefully, I am no longer shoeless. Instead, I am wearing a pair of white swim fins and my feet are making a flapping sound as I proceed down the marble walkway in the center of the casino. No one seems to notice my fashion foible, so I press on. My friend points me down a side hallway to a door.

“His office is in there,” he says. “He’ll fix you right up.”

I waddle my way down the hallway, picking up my finned feet as I go. When I get there, there is a kind-faced man who appears to be from India. In heavily accented, proper British English he tells me they have been waiting for me. My eyes adjust to the darkened room before me. It is filled with wooden boards. On each wooden board rests an Indian man, eyes closed. The doctor ushers me to an empty board.

“This spot is for you. Lie on your back. Face the ceiling,” he instructs.

I can’t figure out what is going on, but I don’t see any other option so I comply. The room around me begins to vibrate with the chants of fellow patients. Various meditations fill the room. I remain silent, letting myself be surrounded with the peace and goodwill. I am swallowed by the moment and fade into another mental plane.

After a while, I no longer hear chanting. I hear casual conversation, dishes being clanked together, and the smell of Indian food reminds me I have not eaten in a while. I open my eyes and notice that everyone else is awake. I am the last to join them. I am in the middle of a reception in the doctor’s office. There are trays of Indian curries and naan bread. The men are all eating with their fingers and conversing quietly. The doctor approaches with half of a roasted pig, one that has been twirled on a spit and slow cooked. “It’s a half of a pig,” I remark to myself. It was sawed down the center and is now presented to me as a snack.

“Here,” he says. “Eat something.”

I take the half pig from him. It is still warm and heavy, but not so heavy I can’t hold it without a struggle. I can see hair on its body. Its snout is tanned and rubbery. I stare into the half face of the pig. It stares back at me with one eye. The doctor waits by my side, rocking back and forth, expectantly. As I try to ascertain the best way to partake of this offering, other people begin pulling off bits of pig flesh and eating them. I wonder to myself if they are getting pig hair in their mouths. I look at the pig again. It blinks at me with its one eye. It’s still alive. I am astonished. How is that possible? It seems pretty awkward to take a bite of something that’s halfway watching me. I’m uncomfortable with the idea.

“I’m sorry,” I tell the pig as I grab a loosened part of its tender underbelly and tear it away. It blinks again to let me know it’s all good. He understands. I put the food into my mouth.

The alarm clock goes off.

Now…I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking, “This gal must live in Denver.” And you’re right. I do live in Denver where pot is now legal and readily available for home consumption and where all kinds of spaced out, random mental experiences are possible. But that’s not what this story is about. This is a story about what happens to me when I have curry for lunch and spicy Italian food for dinner. Although, now that you’ve brought it up, I wonder what my brain might come up with if I relaxed a little and ate an altered brownie? I suppose that’s another blog entirely.

I’m fascinated by what our brains come up with while we’re sleeping, perhaps as they try to work out and file away the everyday occurrences of our conscious lives. I’ve been marveling all day at how my brain reintroduced an old college friend whose last name is Bacon into a dream where I encounter an awkward situation with a cooked pig. Coincidence? I think not.

 

 

Facebook Knows Me Too Well

Yep. There’s witchy old me again.

A while back I wrote a blog about fate, coincidence, and signs. My premise was that life presents you with signs that attempt to nudge you in the direction you’re supposed to be heading in this life. If you’re paying attention and are self-aware, you will notice the signs the first time they present themselves to you. If you’re not, the signs will keep appearing over and over until you take notice and then hopefully hop aboard the clue bus and go forward. I still believe this to be true. In light of this belief, however, I’ve been struggling with something that keeps happening in my life.

Just before Halloween and in honor of that spooky holiday, I changed my Facebook profile photo to a shot of me in a witch costume I wore to pick up my boys from school last year on October 31st. It seemed appropriate to deck myself out on Facebook for one of my favorite holidays. I thought it was kind of a cute idea. On November 1st, I promptly removed the photo of witchy me and replaced it with a photo of me from our trip to Moab last spring. For the past two weeks, though, that photo of witchy me keeps reappearing randomly as my Facebook profile photo without my changing it. It’s happened both on my iPhone Facebook app and on my Facebook page on my MacBook. Now, I’m sure this is nothing sinister, but it’s starting to get a little weird.

When I see that witchy photo, I go in and change it back. Simple enough, right? No need to freak out about it. It’s probably just some sort of mix-up with the cookies from the Facebook app, right? It’s definitely not some type of sign. If it were, what would it be a sign of? I should do some serious research into Wicca because perhaps that is my calling? I should wear black more often? Hats really work for me? Tonight, I told my hubby about it.

“You know that photo of me that I put up for Halloween?” I asked.

“The one of you in the witch costume?” he replied.

“Yep. That one. Remember how I told you a week or so ago that it was back?”

“Yes.”

“Well, I changed it then and today it’s back again,” I said. “Do you suppose someone is trying to tell me something?”

This is when he began laughing.

“What are you laughing at? This is not funny,” I said, right before I started laughing too.

“I don’t think the universe is trying to tell you that you’re a witch,” he said and gave me a hug. “But, it is a pretty big coincidence,” he added in that quiet sort of way that’s meant to be an underhanded remark. Then he started laughing again.

“Fine. Side with the universe. And Facebook,” I said as I changed the photo back to the one of me in Moab on one of my happiest days ever.

Now, I don’t really believe the universe is trying to send me a message with the repeated appearance of that witchy photo, but it does kind of bother me a bit that Facebook seems to know me a bit better than I think it should. 😉

 

 

 

 

 

I Have More Purpose Than Cousin Itt

My rough estimation of my own Cousin Itt.

I am lost. I thought that once the boys started back to school, things in my life would fall into a pace or rhythm in which I would be able to find adequate space for my writing. So far, though, that has not happened. Two weeks into my “freedom,” and I’m no further along on my book than I was months ago when I decided I should commit to writing it. It’s been weighing on me, this lack of progress, gnawing at my confidence and sucking out my desire to continue. Each day I’ve found it more difficult to believe I’m truly capable of what I’ve said I would do. Because of this, I’ve been feeling a bit like Cousin Itt from The Addams Family, a superfluous, faceless joke of a family relation with no real skill or purpose. It’s a dark place under all that hair.

A little over a week ago, I wrote a bit about fate and coincidence. I’ve long thought that life presents us with what we need. The problem is that most people are too closed off to the signs and hints, the gentle hand of fate that continually offers us what we need to help us along our journey. You have to be paying attention if you want guidance. As I’ve been sitting here wallowing in my self-perceived worthlessness and ineptitude, I haven’t been in tune with much else in my life. How do you see the positives when you’re up to your eyeballs in negatives?

That is exactly what I was saying to myself this afternoon right before I decided to check the email account I created for this blog last December. I don’t check this email regularly because experience has shown that not very many people frequent it. Still, today, as I was going through my other four email accounts to play catch up (I have an email problem), I thought I might as well go ahead and check my blog account. There, in my inbox, was a message from my graduate school thesis adviser. I haven’t had any contact with Dr. Savage in years. He found me through Linkedin (another account which I don’t use) and followed the link to my blog. On any other day, it would have been nothing more than a pleasant surprise to see a message from Dr. Savage in my inbox. Today, though, in the midst of my self-loathing, it was a sign. His message was full of complimentary statements about my writing, and these statements came at a time when I most needed an infusion of positive energy. I’d like to say it’s some sort of weird coincidence, but I don’t believe it is. The universe wants me to shut up, have faith in myself, and be patient. The universe sent Dr. Savage to remind me to solider on because I’m doing what I should be even if it’s not going the way I had hoped it would.

Ten years ago, I was close to tossing my thesis in the trash. I was frustrated, tired, and (quite frankly) bored with listening to myself talk. I wanted to let it go and move on. But, Dr. Savage told me I was almost there, so I kept working. He was right. I graduated in December 2002 with a master’s degree in writing. And now just when I’m shaking my head and wondering what I was thinking when I embarked on this writing journey, Dr. Savage shows up again. That is no coincidence. You know…Cousin Itt might not have had a purpose, but I do. I merely needed a little reminder.