Monday, October 9, 2017

The North American Writing Spider

Yep: there's a spider known by this particular name. Never heard of it? Well, you're not alone, because I didn't either, until just recently.

Not until I met the man on the street, as it were.

The meeting occurred on a rather ordinary day: early afternoon, outside a coffee shop along a downtown sidewalk, where I was eating lunch al fresco. Ordinary; and then came this man. The encounter was un-ordinary from the start, because the man greeted me without prelude, suddenly and aimlessly, as if we knew each other ... but we didn't know each other. Still, I remained friendly, and we exchanged some small-talk.

Then, also from out of the blue: I was introduced to the spider.

Again without lead-up or prelude, appropriate to nothing, the man proceeded describe this "North American Writing Spider," along with a vague story about how he'd learned of it (which I don't remember exactly, but, I'm sure, did not involve his being accosted by a random man on the street). From there, the encounter grew even more awkward, palpably so, until I drew on the last of my friendliness reserves and bid the man good day.

With that, we parted ways, back to being pedestrian and diner, the end. However, the man did leave me with one takeaway about that Writing spider: despite its large size and elaborate markings, it was quite harmless (and, actually, performed various good works within the garden ecology, as many spiders do).

Afterward, during the rest of my meal, I was left with the distinct thought: North American Writing Spider ... harmless. And then, consequently, I had another thought: of the spiders my mother is deathly afraid of.

These spiders, which appear in number at a family property every autumn (and grow notoriously large, with menacing yellow stripes), are well known to my mother, who is petrified of them, dramatically so. In fact, the spiders had just come up in a recent conversation with her, a week or so before my strange enlightenment regarding the North American Writing Spider.

I wonder what those spiders are called ...? I thought next.

* * *

At this point, you might see where this is going. And, well, you aren't wrong: the spiders at the family property, the big ugly yellow-striped ones that terrify my mother from a mile away? Yeah: they're North American Writers.

Sniffing all the telltale signs of a synchronistic recurrence, I suspected as much shortly after my categorically bizarre meeting with the man on the street (because these things do happen to me, you know). But, even after consulting the internet for some pictures, I couldn't say for sure until the seasons changed and the spiders made their appearance.

Now, they've appeared. And after a second, in-the-flesh comparison, there's no question of their species.

But no worries, because they are, after all, totally harmless!

If you are the gentleman who so obtusely but kindly shared with me this information about the Writing Spider, I would love to hear your side of the encounter, and why you felt led to approach me and say what you did. And, I think, maybe some other folks might like to know, too ...]

Friday, September 15, 2017

Breaking the Rules (aka, "Another Ask-and-Receive")

Once again: I asked, and I received.

This time, my asking was for sleep. A chronic insomniac since childhood (a condition which has grown progressively worse with age), I was on the road, and very tired after a long drive; by mid-afternoon, the thought of another night of my characteristically broken sleep was unappealing to me -- particularly unappealing, in fact, in a keen way that, in years past, I'd learned to live with. By this point in my life, I'd come to automatically ignore such plaintive desires for normal sleep, as a rule.

That night, however, for the first time in many years, I broke that rule, when I found myself Asking: for sleep. Just a good, simple, lazy night of blackout-drunk, well-baby sleep.

But there was more behind this spontaneous request. Not only was I especially beat, but I was about to cross into a new time zone, therefore "losing" an hour, which would screw up my schedule in various uninteresting ways I won't describe. As it were, it would've been much more convenient for me to sleep late and then "lose" my hour in the morning, rather than in the afternoon -- that is, another circumstance as rare and infrequent as my being so oddly tired that day. Together, the two conspired to see me send up my strange little prayer, despite it meaning a regression in my personal discipline.

Well, you can guess the rest (or, at least, you can if you've read this blog to any extent): that night, I slept.

Though, I didn't just sleep, nor did I have what might be considered, by any measure, a good night's sleep. No: I slept, both deeply and for nearly twelve hours. For me, who is accustomed to maybe 5-6 hours of light, soupy sleep on average (this interrupted by a half-dozen or so wake-ups, from which I might or might not return to sleep, if I'd ever gotten to sleep in the first place) ... it was simply unprecedented (or maybe "orgasmic" is a better description). Upon getting up and seeing the curiously bright sunlight invading my blinds, I was quite literally speechless. Go without something for decades, and its return might well as be for the first time.

And my, what a coincidence: this fluke, inhumanly long night's sleep had Just Happened to coincide with my equally uncommon (and explicit) request.

* * *

There's a footnote to this incident.

I'd taken an herbal sleep-supplement that night, for the first time, after being Compelled to buy it at a random store I'd stopped at that day -- the obvious cause, right? It made perfect sense, as to be the rare, clear logical explanation for this kind of thing ... until I took the stuff again (and several times since), and my miracle sleep did not repeat itself. Likewise, after reviewing that day for anything else I might've done differently (I keep a comprehensive health journal of such minutiae, for just such a reason), I came up with nothing that would logically explain my little windfall.

To be fair, maybe there was some logical, causal factor that brought about my mysterious slumber, and I'm just unaware of it. Then again, taking into account the ridiculously synchronistic nature of my adult life ... maybe not.

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Ask and Ye Shall Receive ... A Massage

When I saw who would be my massage therapist, it was the ultimate double-take moment.

The short of it: for weeks, I'd been trying to work a therapeutic massage into my schedule, and, also, I'd been trying to get it with a certain, new therapist who works out of the gym I attend -- in fact, I'd been Compelled to book with this particular therapist, in an especially urgent yet wholly baseless and illogical fashion I've come to know well. However, once I finally got the time to get my much-delayed massage, it just didn't work out with that therapist, with my needing to be in another part of town for other obligations.

Therefore, I instead booked with a different outfit, convenient to where I'd be that day. They have a rotation of therapists, and you never know who you'll get; but no worries, because I'd never once gotten a bad massage at this place, whomever the therapist.

So, fast-forward to when I arrived at my appointment -- and was summarily shocked. First: by the sight of the aforementioned therapist I'd been so stubbornly Compelled to book with; she does massages out of this place too, as it turned out (unbeknownst to me, of course). Then, I was soon shocked anew, when it turned out that, not only does this therapist practice where I'd Just Happened to book (over thirty miles from my gym) -- but she Just Happened to be randomly assigned to me upon my making the appointment that morning.

Chance? Not impossible, surely. But, in the context of the dozens upon dozens of similarly unlikely incidents catalogued in this blog ... it didn't feel like chance.

(And, the clincher: the massage I received ended up being exceptionally good, and in a unique, therapeutic fashion that I've never quite experienced with another therapist, when I'd been so illogically Compelled to book with that uniquely therapeutic therapist ...)

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

The Eating-Echo Synchronicity (aka, "Yeah, this really happened ...")

And the phenomenon continues to shift and evolve: another new kind of synchronicity has announced itself to me. This time, a sub-type of the last sequential newcomer, the "thought-echo."

As with about all the synchronistic variants I experience, this one is pretty straightforward, for all its profundity: I'll be eating, and, precisely as I experience some particular effect from the food, I'll read something shockingly similar in the book I'm simultaneously reading at the time (I almost always read while eating, since the two compliment one another so well, and since reading while driving ... doesn't).

Take, for example, my initial experience of this curious phenomenon.

Log entry from 6/12/17, quoted verbatim:
"[...] It started when I began eating the avocado-and-ginger dish and noticed distinctly that it was missing that distinctive gingery zip that I expected, which is always present the way that I fix up this dish. At first I thought it might've just been a particularly un-gingery bite, but after a couple more that were the same, I then thought that maybe it was the fact that I used that different ginger tonight, the roasted markdown stuff I got at Lowes that triggered the $7.37 receipt-total incident, instead of the unroasted and presumably stronger stuff I usually get. But then, on the fourth or so bite I took, after reading several pages of the "Dangerous Eating" book, the gingeriness finally kicked in, distinctly and notably, as to make me think 'Oh, there's the ginger' -- seconds after I'd started a new chapter in the book, that on New Mexico and, after a couple paragraphs in, hot chile [sic]. As it were, the gingery heat finally kicking in corresponded almost perfectly synchronistically with my suddenly reading about hot chile [sic] and a discourse on hot spices, etc, in general over the first page or so of that new chapter (when, previously, it hadn't been discussing anything remotely hot-food-related). This one wasn't too precise and wasn't perfectly timed (with maybe 2-3 seconds between the ginger kicking in enough to trigger my recognition/registering/thinking of it and the book going into hot foods, and it's not like the book mentioned "hot ginger" in particular), but still just precise enough and closely timed and patternistic enough to be notable, and damn surreal in any case."
Not convincing, you say? I don't blame you, since this particular incident wasn't the most compelling (for anyone not myself, at least). However, at lunchtime the very next day, it happened again, and in such an eerily similar fashion that a pattern began to emerge:
"Also, had another of those 'reading about more or less exactly what I was eating at the time' almost exactly like the ginger incident last night at dinner, this time at lunch with garlic. It started when, again, the first couple garlic-containing bites I took were distinctly mild and ungarlicky, as to make me note it, just like with those first few weird dud-ginger-bites last night -- and then, about halfway through lunch when I took the first good, pungent, sinus-clearing bite of garlic, the book went into a passage where the character in it ate a bite of super-spicy chile [sic] and had it clear out his sinuses/water his eyes/bring that 'good fire' -- all of which was more or less exactly what I was experiencing, and almost perfectly synchronistically to when it hit me, maybe 1-2 seconds between my registering the sensations and then encountering the passage in the book, just so ridiculously surreal and damn cool. Wow ..."
Okay, so you're still unpersuaded about this eating-echo business. I still don't blame you; after all, it's not outside the realm of chance coincidence that such things would occur, even twice (and less than a day apart, after my never having experienced such a thing in my years of eat-reading). But, considering that it happened again, and just at dinnertime that same day ...
"And then, a very similar, albeit smaller/briefer, one at dinnertime. This time I was on the second or third bite of that weird mash-up bowl of stuff I'd thrown together, and I bit into one of those weird probiotic chews I'd got from VS, which despite listing no artificial/chemical flavoring, it tasted a bit too intense/"crisp" to be flavored with nothing but natural orange oil as it said, which made me thinking [sic] something along the lines of 'chemicals in here/unnatural flavor in those chews' -- precisely as I randomly read 'artificial flavoring' in the 'Eating Dangerously' book (and in that same context, and for the first time). And, again, though the text was visible to me when I'd had the thought, I can distinctly, 100% trace my thinking about it just then to the objective event of my taking that bite of the chews just then and registering its artificial-tasting quality, haha."
From there, the phenomenon took a day off (everything needs a break every now and then, I suppose, even unidentified forces that influence my meals). But then, on the 15th:
"[...] This time it was even more precise, and precisely timed: a few seconds after I took the first bite of that weird coconut dish at lunch, and right as I was registering the taste and texture of it and thinking of how the coconut manna was just fatty and succulent enough to even out the raw/powdery spices and stuff in it and make it deliciously creamy -- precisely as I registered this final, conclusive thought of 'good texture/creamy/pleasing,' I came to the middle of the first page I'd been reading and this sentence: 'My first bite plops neatly into my mouth. Bliss. With just enough fat to make the mouthful succulent ...' -- all of which echoed more or less perfectly my initial judgment of my lunch, right down to it being the 'first bite' (and that it was good/'bliss,' and that the coconut's creamy fat was just enough to make it "succulent"). It also bears mentioning that, a second or two before this, I'd paused in my reading to hold the coffee shop door open for the old man who'd stumbled out and dropped something, which therefore paused my reading a little bit, yet my registering the texture/succulence of the bite still aligned almost perfectly synchronistically with my reading that key paragraph (I'd had the bite in my mouth chewing while holding the door open for this man, haha)."
* * *

I'd like to say that I could go on and list more; but, unlike other variants of the phenomenon, this one has yet to repeat itself beyond that sudden foursome. As of writing, these eating-echoes were confined to a single, days-long period (just enough to cement a recognizable pattern, as it were). Of course, it's only been less than a week since the last in the sequence; so, perhaps I haven't seen the last of this strange animal.

In any case, make of it what you will.

Friday, May 19, 2017

Another New "Another New Kind of Synchronicity" Post

Let it be said: I continue to have "synchronistic" experiences, and daily (and, usually, in volume). Likewise, I continue to experience new types of synchronicities.

The latest: the "random magazine page-turn."

This one started just recently, within the last couple weeks (that is, early May, 2017). For these, the MO is as follows: I'll randomly be thinking of a certain, specific thing, and then I turn the page of the magazine I'm reading and -- BAM! -- there's that exact thing I was just thinking of, staring back at me, equally random yet undeniably precise in its echo of my thoughts. And, like all of my genuine synchronicities, there's never any sort of direct, logical correlation between the content of the previous pages and that of the subsequent, "echoing" page (such that I couldn't have been subconsciously "triggered" to be thinking of that specific thing, such as, say, having thoughts of "ice cream" echoed in a magazine about ice cream, where there would be a natural abundance of ice-cream-related words and images, etc). And, yes, my initial thoughts will always come distinctly before I turn the page, when the next leaf is still 100% invisible (yet, only very slightly before the page-turn, just fractions of a second, such that the corresponding "echo" occurs near-instantaneously).

Case in point, verbatim from my log, on 5/12/17:

Started [...] when, right as the niacin began to hit and the first itching of skin came on, I opened that random Good Housekeeping magazine from the library and, precisely as I was hit with the first itching and I thought absently "here comes the niacin itch" or something along those lines, I turned to a page advertising some sort of itchy-scalp shampoo or bodywash or something -- in any case, with a sentence reading "ITCHY SKIN" right in the middle of the page. Though, at this point, I didn't note it since it wasn't too precise/was just another vague/subtle echo if anything. But then, maybe 30 seconds later as the next wave of itching hit, more intense, I again had the distinct thought of "skin's really itching now" -- precisely as I turned another page to another advertisement, this one with a gigantic "WHY IS MY SKIN SO ITCHY?" in the middle of the page, more precise in the "itchy skin" echo, but also perfectly synchronistic in timing (and, again, 100% objective, relying on the "involuntary bodily function"-type onset of the itch from the niacin I'd taken a half-hour before, as to coincide perfectly despite my having no influence over such).

And then, another one, just a day later:

Precisely as I laid down on the leather couch at the parents' and opened that random 2006 Yoga magazine I got free from the library, I felt how comfortable/pleasing the couch was and had a distinct thought of "comfortable couch/I like this couch/good couch" or something along those lines -- a split second before I opened the magazine to an ad reading "Nice sofa" right in the middle, directly in my line of sight after I'd just had that thought (another of those where the thought wasn't 100% perfectly synchronistic but was very close, just microseconds apart, as to just make it more notable since it distinguished the thought as 100% before I could've possibly known what awaited me as I opened the magazine, yet was closely timed enough to make it nearly perfectly synchronistic, etc).

Then, a few days later (on the 17th), another one, pretty much identical:

[...] This time it was my thinking randomly of beets (which I can trace 100% back to a random chain of thought about what I'd put in the lunch I'd fixed up earlier, the last ingredient of which I remembered was two tablespoons of the beet crystals, which thus ending [sic] the chain of thought on "beet"), a split second before I turned a page in the Mother Earth News I was reading to a big full-page article on beets, with big pictures of beets and "BEET ROOT" in the middle of the page -- but all, once again, totally hidden/impossible to see for me until only *after* I'd had the thought (though, again, only microseconds after, as to be pretty much perfectly synchronistic, etc).

And then yet another, and again just a day afterward, on the evening of the 18th. This time, however, it came with a twist (note of clarification: the first ad, which triggered the thoughts to be echoed, was separate from the ad on the next page, as to remain completely random and, thus, to rule out the sort of subconscious trickery mentioned earlier):

[...] It began when I opened that random issue of Coastal Living I got free from the library, and something in an ad on the second page triggered thoughts of our wasteful/throw-away culture, which conjured in my mind's eye visions of landfills specifically, and a general sense of "trash" -- and then, on the very next page, there was a full-page ad for Subaru about how it has zero landfill waste now, with the entire page filled with a picture of a trash-clogged landfill. Though, this one was a little different in that there was a delay of 2-3 seconds before I registered the landfill ad and made the connection to the vague thought I'd just had when looking at the previous leaf with the other ad, unlike the other recent page-turn-types where my I [sic] had the thought, then turned the page a split second after and had saw the echoing material, as to be perfectly synchronistic, etc; but then, the more I thought about it, it seemed that there wasn't so much of a delay in the echo, but instead just a delay in my seeing the landfill ad/registering it/making the connection (because, if I remember correctly, I had the thought about landfills, then turned the page immediately after, but first looked at the left page of the new leaf, rather than skipping it to the right page, where the landfill picture was).

And then comes the second part, which ups the notability even fuller: as I realized that there wasn't a delay in the page-turn but instead just in my registering the echo, I had the thought of something along the lines of "the landfill picture was there perfectly synchronistically, I just didn't at first see it" -- and then, a split second later, I looked at the ad on the next sequential page I'd turned to, after the landfill one, and it was an ad for a car or something reading "Just because you don't see it, doesn't mean it isn't there," thus echoing my thoughts about the echo, and this one coming in that perfectly synchronistic page-turn fashion.

* * *

And, as a fun little footnote to these log excerpts: they are, indeed, merely excerpts, taken from pages upon pages of entries from the many other variations of daily synchronicity I experience. I'll let that statement speak for itself, in regards to the scope of the phenomenon ...

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

The "Echo" Synchronicity

Yep, another new kind of incident: the "thought echo."

I've been experiencing these for some time, more or less. However, as of late, this particular kind has been predominant, and refined itself into a reasonably consistent pattern, for whatever reason. My first few months of 2017 have been something of an "echo chamber," you could say.

In my personal synchronistic lexicon, the echo-type is simple in concept, yet quite striking in effect: the recurrence of my inner reality in external reality, often in real-time. Usually, this will involve a thought or feeling of mine, or an event I'm currently experiencing, being somehow doubled in the outside world -- as to be "echoed" (or, sometimes the more appropriate description might be "reflected"). Thus, a typical thought-echo would be, say, randomly thinking of "balloons," at the exact instant that, from out of nowhere, a windblown balloon sails across my vision (and, usually, it would be the first balloon I'd seen in months or maybe years, and my thinking of balloons in the first place would arise due to some separate, totally unrelated event, such as hearing "balloon" on a nearby radio).

Here's an actual example.

This incident, which occurred amidst many similar ones on the afternoon 4/18/17, personifies the "thought echo" -- and doubly so, as it were. It began rather subtly: when, while driving down the road, I suddenly stopped for a car trying to enter traffic, feeling utterly Compelled to do so -- and, right as the car came forward and the driver gave a friendly wave, my radio randomly sang "let it all out." And there you have it: at the exact instant I "let out" the car, the radio "echoed" this event, and with reasonable precision, both literally and essentially.

Now, at this point, there wasn't much of an incident to speak of. Yes, the theme of "letting out" was echoed pretty coherently, and the timing of the two coinciding events couldn't possibly have been tighter (and, what's more, I'd experienced many nearly identical incidents just that day alone, as to establish a pattern). But, all the same, it's not impossible that this was, simply, a traditional coincidence, and not even a hugely unlikely one.

But then the soda popped.

The can of Pepsi was lying beside me in a plastic bag on the floorboard, put there after I'd picked it up as trash in a parking lot several minutes earlier. Apparently, the can had been in the sun for some time, for it was warm to the touch, and swollen and deformed with pressure. And then, apparently, after being further cooked on the hot floorboard when I'd begun driving, the poor can just couldn't take it anymore -- and so it popped, spraying caramel-colored foam with a serpentine hiss.

It popped, at the exact instant the lyric refrained on the radio: "let it all out."

And, indeed, the soda was quite entirely "let out," as to fill the extent of the trash bag (which, thankfully, I'd tied closed after dropping the can inside).

Not just one "echo," but two, back to back, within the space of seconds.

After pulling off and successfully dumping the soda-filled bag before it could despoil my car's carpet floorboard, I stood by the trashcan for some time. Synchroshocked.

Monday, April 10, 2017

Ask and Ye Shall Receive: Foodie Edition

And now, the latest episode in my saga of "ask and ye shall receive" synchronicities.

Now, I'm receiving food, manna-from-Heaven-style.

* * *

I eat organic food, or I try to, anyhow. Whenever organics are available, and whenever finances allow, I opt for the good stuff (for reasons I'll leave the inquiring reader to research on their own).

However, even when organics aren't available ... they still are, sometimes. I'll explain.

One ordinary day, I was at a supermarket, stalking the produce department, when I had the thought: I'd like some onion with dinner. Then, immediately afterward: Do they carry organic onions here?

With that, I checked the nearby stall of bulk onions, and its sign, which would indicate an organic variety -- but no luck. Yet, rather than moving on (as would be logical), I approached the big, sprawling heap of non-organic onions, feeling illogically Compelled to do so.

Once there, my eyes were drawn to one particular onion in the spread. After looking closer, I stopped dead: this onion's label was different than the others.

It was an organic onion.

Ah, so they're organic but it's just not on the sign, was my initial thought. But, no: all the rest of the onions that I examined -- and I examined quite a few -- were definitely non-organic, as established clearly on their labels (which were patently unlike that on the organic odd-ball).

I double-checked the first, organic one I'd found: yep, definitely organic, as well as visibly different than its bin-mates, as to stick out like the proverbial sore thumb.

I combed the produce department, sure that there was another bin of onions somewhere, with the organic kindred of the castaway ... but, nope: no organic onions in sight.

Then, in the well-lit abundance of a supermarket produce section, I had a little reckoning: I'd not only found something in a place where that thing should not be, but I'd found it immediately after thinking of how I wanted just that thing (and doing so when I was out of viewing distance of that discovered thing, and because I'd had the genuine, independent, random desire for that thing to fill the gap in my dinner plans that night, as it were).

I'd not only found an organic onion in a store that didn't sell organic onions, I'd received that onion.

Once the synchroshock wore off and I'd rebooted myself, I returned to the store's singular bin of onions. After another check for more orphaned organics (which there weren't, from what I saw), I grabbed the miracle-onion. From what I remember, it was delicious.

* * *

Okay, I know what you're thinking (or what someone out there is thinking, no doubt): The organic onion just got mixed in with the others, probably during sorting in a shared warehouse. It was just a fluke, and you just got lucky.

Certainly a valid point, and a real possibility. Sure, it was awfully ironic that I'd Just Happen to be a man in need of an organic onion at that precise time, at that precise market (with the lone organic right on top of the wide, sprawling two-deep mound, and on the very side that I'd approached it on, no less) -- but, still, unlikely as it was, it could indeed have been chance, and I really mean that. And, yes, even when it's considered how that onion-needing man has experienced dozens upon dozens upon dozens of remarkably similar and equally unlikely such coincidences ... still, I can't 100% rule out that, indeed, I was just lucky enough to get what I wanted, when I happened to want it, and in a pretty cool way.

But then it happened again.

* * *

The scenario was almost identical: I was browsing a market's produce section when I was struck with the need to round out my dinner with a particular organic food -- and, lo and behold, I found one, despite the store not stocking an organic variety of that particular item. And, it again happened almost instantaneously, with mere seconds between my asking-thought and the food's discovery.

This time, it was an avocado rather than an onion, and in a smaller market, but otherwise, exactly the same: a lone, organic avocado in a great big bin of cheapie non-organics. Even the physical circumstances were the same: I had the thought, approached the bin immediately after, and there, right on top of the mound, directly in my line of sight, on my side of the wide sprawl, without my having to so much as shift my eyes, was my organic avocado. And, sure enough, a search of the store revealed no other organic avocados (there was another avocado bin, inside, but it too offered only non-organics).

So, for the record: not only did I experience the rather unlikely little windfall of getting that organic onion when I shouldn't have, but that same weird lightning struck twice (and, as it were, only four months later, when I've never otherwise seen organic produce in a non-organic bin, before or after).

I'm just a pretty darn lucky guy, I guess.