Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Trouble Comes in Threes

Friday afternoon after work, I misplaced my keys in such a creative fashion that I haven’t yet been able to locate them. Sometime Saturday night or Sunday morning, someone stole the statue of Kwan Yin that graced the planter next to our driveway. According to the superstition that trouble comes in threes, I could be at high risk for losing something else if “losses” is the theme of this bout of trouble. I prefer to lump these misfortunes under the more general heading of “pains in the ass.” That way, I can count this horrific allergy attack I’m having in with the losses and call myself done with this series of three. I can petition that it counts because I’ve lost my sense of health and well-being. A mean-ass, people-hating species of tree is out there ejaculating showers of poisonous pollen. When one peers through a microscope at individual grains of this pollen, one can see that in fact they are tiny Brillo pads, which scour respiratory tracts and chafe eyeballs.

On the other hand, I might have to lump the allergy difficulties under “health afflictions,” along with the ear and the yeast infections from which I have suffered of late. In that case, I’ve finished the health-related trouble and still have yet to finish the losing things trouble.


Oh, wait a minute. Maybe I can count the check I wrote to pay for the Reflexology workshop I attended. It was an intentional loss though, so it might not count.

Carl Jung referred to the trouble comes in threes rule in his writing. I think it was in his book Modern man in Search of a Soul. He may have brought it up in reference to his concept of synchronicity. If you’re like me, you were introduced to the idea of synchronicity by the band the Police circa 1985, and associate it with the Loch Ness Monster. So here’s a proper definition, complete with MLA citation:

Main Entry: syn·chro·nic·i·ty Pronunciation: "si[ng]-kr&-'nis-&t-E, "sin-Function: noun Inflected Form: plural -ties: the coincidental occurrence of events and especially psychic events (as similar thoughts in widely separated persons or a mental image of an unexpected event before it happens) that seem related but are not explained by conventional mechanisms of causality —used especially in the psychology of C. G. Jung "synchronicity." Merriam-Webster's Medical Dictionary. Merriam-Webster, Inc. 24 Apr. 2007. .

In my mind, synchronistic events are like foreshadowing in novels – they presage something that’s going to happen or is happening somewhere far away that you don’t know about yet. Or they’re weird coincidences you can’t explain, but give you a feeling that there’s a spooky pattern to events in the universe. It’s an eerie or exciting feeling that the universe is paying attention to you.

My friend Rufus O’Hale and I recently had a discussion about synchronicity at work one day during lunch break. We sat on the curb around the corner from the front door. He smoked cigarettes and I ate crackers. I can’t remember why synchronicity came up, but I talked about an I-Ching reading I got years ago that specifically told me my boyfriend would marry someone else. This was weeks before I found out he had another girlfriend and did, in fact, marry her.

Rufus said one time he was at an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting when a smelly, disheveled, and drunk man came in and began shouting. Since Rufus wasn’t getting into the meeting, he decided to take advantage of the distraction and leave during the hubbub after the loud drunk was shown the door. Rufus found him unconscious on the sidewalk at the bottom of the stairs. The man’s coat had fallen open and Rufus could see that they were both wearing the same shirt. He interpreted this as the universe’s way of saying, “This could be you on the sidewalk sometime in the future if you don’t change,” and he went back to the AA meeting.

I thought that was a pretty good story and made a mental note to remember it. There was a pause in our conversation and for some reason I glanced overhead to see the silhouette of a medium-sized bird flash across the sky. I got a bad feeling about it at the same time that I heard Rufus erupt into “What the hell was that?”

“What happened?” I asked.

“I don’t know. Something just hit my arm.”

“A bird just flew by.”

“I think it hit me.”

I was just thinking about how unlikely that was when Rufus looked on the back of his shirt sleeve and moaned. There was a turd stuck right behind his shoulder. It was almost large enough to have come from a cat. A chill went up my spine.

We decided not to speculate about what that might mean.

1 comment:

andrew said...

rufus was telling me how george clooney saved his life one night by filming in the triad. synchronicity can be frighteningly enormous in an alcoholic's mind. only in hope can the obsession be tamed.