Thursday, July 18, 2013
Connecting the Dots
Regular readers of these columns may recall that I have admitted before how reason and faith are comfortable companions in my brain. This mystifies both my spiritual and atheist friends, which of course amuses me.
Look, I know we live in a random universe, but I continue to believe in signs, seeing meaning behind events that have no obvious connections — what others might call “coincidence.” Maybe it’s just magical thinking, but I can’t help opening myself to any deeper meaning when synchronicity smacks me upside the head.
It happened earlier this week, but all I know for sure in retrospect is that I was where I was supposed to be at that time. Abiding, one might say.
I came to the coffee shop to conduct an interview. The coffee of the day was “approved by The Dude,” according to a drawing of a bearded man wearing sunglasses that had been scrawled on brown paper behind the counter.
(You might recall The Dude in the film “The Big Lebowski” being accosted by the Nihilists, who tell him, “We believe in nothing.” I was thinking, right then, I believe I forgot my sunglasses today, and then recalled The Dude exclaiming, “Careful man, there’s a beverage here,” as I picked up my order.)
A few minutes later, I was talking to young singer/songwriter Kristen Barkuloo about songs that speak to us. She said she wanted her music to remind people of meaningful times in their lives. I mentioned that there are a few songs that do so for me, and one artist in particular.
Seconds later, David Bowie’s “The Man Who Sold the World” began playing over the sound system and goosebumps rose on my arms. (Bowie released his latest music video, "Valentine's Day," on Tuesday, the day following this interview.)
Barkuloo talked about a song she was inspired to write after a young friend died in a car wreck, and I thought of my own history with similar tragedy. She talked of getting into theater productions and studying under Bruce Taws, and I further connected that to my son, a songwriter and singer who did theater with Bruce years ago, and whose best friend died in a car wreck.
So now we talked about linkages, connections.
She mentioned that she also wrote fiction, and I encouraged her to visit Writers Gallery, a monthly open mic for writers hosted at Chez Amavida that will reconvene in September after a summer hiatus. I told her it was organized a couple of years ago by local author Nick May, and then I looked to my left and saw Nick opening the café door.
Greetings all around followed, and more talk of strange connections. As The Stranger said, “I don’t know about you, but I take comfort in that.”
(This is my Undercurrents column for PanamaCity.com and The News Herald for this week.)