Thursday, November 20, 2008


I read in the newspaper yesterday that a tool kit with a wrench, a couple of grease guns, some wipes and a putty knife, all belonging to a lady astronaut presently out in space, has floated away and is now lost to the ages (unless it plummets through the atmosphere and happens to klonk someone on the head). Each time one of these losses happens, we humans, who are actually little more than tiny jots and tittles walking around on earth, are assured by NASA that most likely any space junk will fall into the ocean, since there is so much more ocean than land. And anyway, the odds of it making it through the atmosphere intact is infinitesimal, they add.

That may be, but I am fairly related to Chicken Little and I think I ought to make allowances for the fractional possibility of a wrench, a grease gun, or a putty knife landing in my very own space. (I’m not so worried about the wipes.) It’s true, last week the space refrigerator made it down safely into the drink but one of these days the odds may catch up with me.

Which makes me think of --- well, synchronicity, I guess I’ll call it. You know, it is like reading the latest issue of the Smithsonian Magazine while idly listening with one ear to the TV. Just as you read the words “may be insurmountable” the emcee on the game show says to the contestant, “it’s not insurmountable” – with the two “insurmountables” happening at the same split second. That is a synchronicity and I don’t understand how it can happen. Of all the fractions of seconds in the world at any one time, and all the words in the world that are lurking in the brains of writers and emcees, that two identical words could appear, one in my eye and one in my ear at the EXACT same time, is just too mind-boggling. If that can happen, why can’t a monkey wrench floating around in space land in the next sidewalk square at the same time I put my foot into it.

This type of synchronicity happens all the time (except at Las Vegas with three cherries). I turn the car radio on and punch the button set to KFWB, our local news station. The first word I hear is the exact word that I instantly see on the billboard I’m passing at that very moment. And it’s not a word like “and.” It’s always a word like “delicious” or “credit report.” That is synchronicity and I ask how can that be? How can that happen? It is just too much for me. There is no rhyme or reason for it. God didn’t cause it to happen, I didn’t imagine it, and no one plays that kind of trick on me. It is something that just is. And I don’t like not having a good explanation for it.

But getting back to space junk, I would like to put out a memo to the spacewalkers to keep an eye open for my nice chafing dish that was lost one of my earlier moves. It was a lovely white ceramic bowl with modern-style blue flowers around the middle. It sat on a wooden frame with a candle holder in the center and there was a wooden bowl cover topped with a round blue ceramic knob on top. There was nothing left in my apartment when I moved out. The landlord and I gave it a thorough check. My kids and I packed all our worldly goods and drove them to the new apartment. We knew we had everything. But that whole chafing dish setup never appeared anywhere. To show you how much that has bothered me, we moved in 1972 and I still wonder where my chafing dish went. Perhaps somehow it got into outer space and is floating around with the rest of the space junk (and probably with a few million orphaned socks) waiting to make its ultimate return to earth. Now I doubt seriously that I would be the one that the chafing dish klonked upon its re-entry; that would be SYNCHRONICITY with capital letters. But the dish and a couch arm-cover missing from a second move just may be out floating somewhere in the ether, because they don’t seem to be here on earth. That’s why I want the astronauts to keep an eye out for them. I’d like them back.

There are so many things in life to think about. I don’t want you to suppose I spend lots of time worrying like Chicken Little, though I do keep a close eye on what the scientific prognosticators are thinking about the big asteroid heading toward us. But there are just a few things I’d like resolved before I move on. One is where my chafing dish is, and the other is what explains synchronicity. I’ve given up on trying to figure out the orphan socks!

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