Lately I feel like I’m developing psychic powers. I don’t mean like I can see into the future and predict events in history. I can’t read minds and I can’t see dead people. I also don’t babble in tongues when struck by a vision. In fact, I don’t really have that many visions, either, unless I’m craving pizza, or I’ve had one too many gin and tonics.
Instead, I think about things and they happen to me. Maybe not right away, but soon thereafter. For instance, a few days ago I had a song running through my head (Arthur Conley’s 1967 classic ‘Sweet Soul Music’ to be exact). Later that day I went into Amoeba Records on Haight Street and guess what was blasting through the speakers?
Similarly, last Wednesday I was thinking about a particularly amusing episode of Seinfeld where Jerry swears off the kiss hello (perhaps brought about because I’ve been having my own issues with the kiss hello, but that’s best explored in a separate entry). Sure enough, that very episode ran that very night at 7:30. Freaky, huh?
My new powers extend beyond mass media and I often get a feeling that I’m going to meet someone I haven’t seen in a while. Last week I was in Union Square in downtown SF and I passed the Burberry store where my friend Jimmy works as manager. I thought to myself, “I’ll bet I see Jimmy today” and not an hour later I run into Jimmy on Powell St. So we had lunch, which he bought. Jimmy’s pretty cheap, so I didn’t see that one coming.
Coincidence? Perhaps. But these things happen to me a lot. I’m not sure you could call these events premonitions, which are usually a forewarning of bad things to come, like in the thankfully departed TV show ‘Heroes’ when the Japanese guy sees the coming nuclear destruction of New York City. (was it just me, or did any one else think that naming one of the heroes Hiro was kinda lame, especially since he was such a dork? Then again, I guess the whole ‘geek as superhero’ was the point …).
Still, getting text messages from people I’m thinking of as I’m thinking of them or finishing people’s sentences is not uncommon for me. In fact, it’s almost a daily event. But I’m thinking that’s as far as I want to go with these odd but not unusual occurrences. I have no interest in predicting the future. I fell that being able to do so would be more of a curse than a gift; what do you do with all that knowledge?
Oh, sure, it might be cool to know that one day I’ll own that beachfront place in Australia or that I can start putting together the snazzy outfit I’ll wear when I accept the Nobel Prize in literature. Come to think of it, it might be nice to know now who wins American Idol before I invest my precious time and emotion.
But there are some things I just would not want to know in advance. There’s a big difference between waking up and thinking “I’ll bet I see the X Files episode where Mulder and Scully are stranded in an Artic outpost with an alien virus” and “Oh, that’s right, today’s the day I get struck by lightning, mauled by a bear and shot in a drive-by.” That’s way too much information. Similarly, I wouldn’t want to know about any hardships, diseases, financial setbacks or painful injuries until when (or perhaps, more optimistically, if) they happen. Ignorance, as they say, is bliss.
And if you can see your own destiny, doesn’t it stand to reason that you can also foresee the destinies of others? I’m not sure that would such a good thing either. On the one hand, anticipating the death of a loved one might make their inevitable passing easier to bear since you’d have years to prepare for it.
But I’m also guessing you might be tempted to warn people about their upcoming demise in a nonchalant way, so they might possibly avoid their fates. You could make roundabout suggestions like, “You should really, really stop smoking … trust me on this one” or ‘You may not want to go skydiving anytime soon.” But that flirts with altering the future and all the wacky stuff that could bring about.
No, I like being ignorant (insert wisecrack here) of my future. I like living my life in the type of bliss of someone who is willing to accept the inevitable — as long as I don’t know when it’s coming.