Lately I’ve found myself tempted to take part in other peoples’ coincidences, and it’s all I can do to restrain myself. I’d just gotten home yesterday evening, and had left the front door open on account of the air being so cool. I’d received a package in the mail, and was using a steak knife to slice through the four hundred yards of super-reinforced tape they wrapped around it when I overheard a conversation outside. I went to the living room, knife still in hand, to get a better view. Two women strolled abreast down the sidewalk, one of them speaking with great enthusiasm about how events in her life had recently come to a head. “Then,” she said, “with him holding me at knifepoint, I’m like, I just can’t take this anymore…”
I looked down at the knife in my hand and felt guilty for no apparent reason. Or perhaps there was a reason. For just a second, I thought wouldn’t be fun to run out my door and leap from the bushes brandishing the knife over my head? Oh, the stories the woman could tell her friends then! A coincidence like no other, that’s what it would be. At least, that’s how it would seem to her.
But then I went back to the kitchen to finish unpackaging my new book on relationships.
What if I’m not really here?
That is, what if I’m somewhere, but not precisely where I think I am? The thought has plagued me for as long as I can remember: what if, as I’m going about my daily routine, everything around me is merely a convincing full-sensory hallucination?
I imagine it somewhat like this: I’m standing in my shower, shampoo bubbles trickling down into my eyes… except the whole thing is an illusion, and I’m really standing in the middle of my office, hands in my hair, eyes closed, going about the motions of washing my hair. Some of my coworkers notice, giggle, shake their heads. Weird graphics guy’s goofing off! Look! Except I don’t stop, even when a manager passes by and questions me about it–at first lightly, and then again, in a more brusque tone. He puts a hand on my shoulder, “Don’t you have some work you could be doing?” Perhaps, but for all intents and purposes I’m in my shower. I don’t budge, and a crowd gathers around me.
Or! Or what if I think I’m walking home, and I really am walking home. At least right up until I trip over the curb. At that point reality and perception diverge once more, and while I see myself continuing to walk up toward the car park, I’ve actually landed on my face, and am now rolling back and forth on the pavement, legs obliviously beating in a useless walking cycle, like a broken windup robot.
Poor me! What went wrong? And does it really matter? For the last tree has fallen, and the woods were never really there to begin with.