I’d never been a superstitious person. Broken mirrors are inconvenience and black cats are merely pets.
I have to admit, though, that since I moved to San Francisco fourteen years ago, there are things which defy explanation by ordinary means or exist in ordinary timelines.
That said, the word “superstition” has some negative cultural baggage (as do words like “promiscuous” or “Christian”) that in other places successfully blocks investigation. It successfully trivialized such matters for me when I lived elsewhere.
But very quickly after moving to San Francisco, the frequency of these esoteric “coincidences” alone was enough to shatter my basic assumptions of mundane and literal existence. My friend Kevin, who ushered my move to San Francisco 14+ years ago, accused me of belonging to the church of scientism. I balked, of course, but of course he was right, as he was in most things.
It started out as imagination, applying fanciful notions to happenstance and coincidence, armored with post hoc, ergo propter hoc sensibilities to abide the universe as so much more than just a cause-and-effect cosmos.
A myth of my own creation is the “Flying Dutchman Day” and here’s how it goes: The fog comes in and rises just to the lower edge of the horizontal parts of the Sutro Tower and makes the upper part of the tower look like a ship sailing atop the clouds AND (and this is quite important) I observe it. (if you look to the picture at the right—and click here to go to the flickr page to view it full-size—and then imagine the level of fog up higher and obscuring the upright of the tower and nothing more, you’ll see what I mean).
Let’s face it, the fog comes in quite regularly, at least in the summertime, and the fog reaching this exactly level likely happens several times a day, so it’s in the observing—without plan or other intent—that refashions my entire day into a harbinger of good times ahead.
I don’t know what prompted me to assign predictive power to this event, but it’s an occurrence of the Earth and Sky and the reality of it is quite subjective. Maybe I liked the combination of Pagan and Relativity. Maybe that’s all it took.
Today was the first day in well over a year that I’ve had a Flying Dutchman Day. Last time I wrote about the Flying Dutchman interpretation was also the first time I wrote about it, but it had already been part and parcel of my life for quite some time; the better part of a decade, at least.
There were a few near-misses of the event leading up to today. Coming home from the Castro and flying up Prospect Street on my Vespa the fog was too high, heading down Cortland Avenue on my way to the Glen Park BART station the fog was just a bit too low, though had the light stayed red for 5 seconds longer it would have happened. But no. Not “just so” until today on my way down to Nervous Dog Coffee, my adoptive hang-out since my beloved Cafe Commons shut down forever over a year ago.
And, having felt significantly better for multiple days in a row (excepting a few incidences of headache that were knocked out by vicodin) thanks to my Eastern Medicine treatments in Union City, a Flying Dutchman Day finally presented itself on my calendar.
I can’t remember the last day I smiled when I was alone, on my own, before today. But tomorrow, and for more tomorrows following, I’ll be able to remember one again.