Suppose you’re thinking about a plate of shrimp. Suddenly someone’ll say, like, plate, or shrimp, or plate of shrimp out of the blue, no explanation. No point in looking for one, either. It’s all part of a cosmic unconsciousness.
— From the 1984 cult-classic movie Repo Man.
Today, the cosmic unconsciousness is clicking in uncontrollable coincidences. The primary topics of my last two blog posts came up today in conversation… by people who didn’t read the posts. How many posts have you written? I’ve lost track. Four hundred some on this blog. Maybe another fifty on my previous blog. That’s a lot of topics to explore—although recently, I seem to be cycling through the same two or three topics over and over.
A few years ago, I noticed that pretty much everything anyone mentioned was something I already blogged about. So naturally, I’d say “I’ve blogged about that” thinking the person would say “oh wow, I’d like to read that.” But they never did. For the most part, people in real life don’t really care that I blog. Now, on occasion, I’ll just send someone a link, unsolicited, if a conversation heads in the same direction as a post. “Hey Darla, here’s a review of Cobra Kai that I wrote. I think it backs up the point I was trying to make last Tuesday.” I feel sorry for my IRL friends.
I dragged Susan and Eli out of bed early today. We planned on a longish morning hike, and I had a meeting starting at one o’clock. I was a little stressed about having enough time for lunch before the meeting so I was in a rush to get out of the house. As we drove to the trailhead, sleepy Eli brought up the Tortoise and the Hare. “In the German version it’s a hare and a hedgehog.” Eli is taking German II this semester. His teacher spends a lot of class time talking about the differences in German culture. So not only is Eli learning the language, but he constantly brings home fun facts about Germany.
The Hare and the Hedgehog by the Brothers Grimm: One fine morning, the hare makes fun of the hedgehog’s crooked legs, whereupon the hedgehog challenges him to a race to win a golden “Lujedor” (Louis d’or) and a bottle of brandy. When the race in the field begins, the hedgehog only runs a few steps, but at the end of the furrow he has placed his wife, who looks very much like him. When the hare, certain of victory, storms in, the hedgehog’s wife rises and calls out to him: “Ick bün all hier!” (“I’m already here!”). The hare cannot understand the defeat, he demands revenge and conducts a total of 73 runs with always the same result. In the 74th race he collapses exhausted and dies.*
“I’m sure the Hare and the Hedgehog came first. That Aesop guy must have stolen it.” Eli missed the mark by twelve centuries, but mostly I focused on the Tortoise and the Hare. Why bring that up, why now? Two days ago, I read a poem referencing the Tortoise and the Hare. It moved me so much I wrote my own blog post on the topic. I know Eli doesn’t read my blog. “Too boring.” No one has mentioned the Tortoise and the Hare in my house in a decade. A plate of shrimp.
After the hike and my meeting, Susan wanted to survey our yard. When we moved into our house with Sophie as a toddler and Eli in utrero sixteen years ago, all our neighbors were seniors citizens. The back yards in our neighborhood, except of ours, were deserted. We spent all of our time messing around out back. We did whatever we wanted, no one ever came outside to judge us. We farmed rows of crops. We built large wooden play sets. We shot BB guns. We blew up homemade bombs. We dug holes just to dig holes. We always had some sort of hobby or project going on. And slowly over the years, our back yard began to look like crap. Now we’re the old(er) people and our neighbors have little kids. They’re outside every day. Our yard has become embarrassing.
“Wait,” you say, “didn’t you just write about this last week?” Yes, I did. I said we needed to start paying attention to our yard, or it would affect our house’s sale price when we move in a few years. Today, Susan said the exact same thing. She wants to start scheduling landscaping projects to make our yard appear more conventional. I asked her if she read my blog post. She didn’t. Another plate of shrimp.
The cosmic unconsciousness. Does it exist? In a global sense, I don’t believe in stuff like that. There’s no fate. No guiding force. No master plan! Stuff happens because you make it happen, or it happens randomly. When the same weird coincidence happens twice in one day, it wakes me up and makes me notice. I had a plate of shrimp day today. In fact, I had a plate of shrimp for dinner. No lie.