Sunday, November 12, 2017
"Do you realize," my wife said, "that the flowers you bought match the flowers on the pitcher exactly?"
I stared dumbly in the direction of the bouquet.
"Pink roses and yellow tulips," she prompted.
"Of course," I said, improvising. "I thought that matching the pitcher would ... umm ... enhance the overall aesthetic effect."
We gazed at one another.
"No, that's a lie," I confessed. "A complete coincidence. I picked out the pink roses because they looked best, and then added the tulips because the yellow and pink seemed to go together."
At Mariano's, by the way, which has good prices on flowers—the roses were $10 for a dozen, the tulips a couple bucks more. The pitcher was nowhere in mind—in fact, I initially put them in our Dior vase, then only moved them into the pitcher because the cleaning ladies were coming and I didn't want them shattering our good vase. Sometimes they break stuff.
The coincidence lingered with me though. I don't think we give random pairings—the flowers perfectly matching the vase—enough attention, which is why there is so much magical thinking in the world. You dream most nights, the days and weeks and months pass by, and odds are that, eventually, one of those dreams will correspond with something that happens later in the day. It doesn't make you a seer. It's just a coincidence.
If I had to teach a high school class, I think I would call it "Accidents and Fabrications," and focus on the important, undervalued role of chance and deceit in our lives. We see too much imaginary order and supposed truth, and too little actual randomness and mendacity.
That sort of thing happens a lot. I'm writing this on my new iMac, which I brought home last Sunday afternoon. An hour before I set it up, my old iMac, which had worked faithfully for eight years, bricked. Just died. Couldn't turn it on. All my files and photos, thank goodness, was backed up on a 1 terabyte Seagate hard drive—always, dear reader, have a back-up. But still, of all the times for the old machine to give up the ghost.
"Maybe it was jealous of the new arrival," a colleague speculated.
Yeah, that has to be it. Hell hath no fury like a computer scorned.