Friday, June 4, 2010
Not Exactly an Oracle
No matter what anyone thinks of the concept of psychics most of us have been intrigued by the idea that someone could predict the future. In fact, there was a recent TV show that flopped spectacularly with that exact premise. The entire world passes out, and sees three minutes of their lives, six months in the future. It was called Flashforward and it was so unspeakably dull nearly all of the initial audience fled in the first few weeks, knowing that at least their futures wouldn't hold endless bleatings about Mark drinking in his fast forward. More than anything the show was about self-fulfilling prophecy.
We all know someone who says they woke up at the precise moment a relative, or loved one shuffled off the mortal coil, thousands of miles away. Or had a feeling of dread that kept them from doing something that ended in full scale doom for others. A ship that sank; sank without them. A plane that crashed, plummeted sans one passenger. Even small things like deciding to take a different route home that helped us avoid a huge traffic jam. Most people have something to report about feeling as if they have been warned by a cosmic force, or they know someone who has.
I'm the only person I know that has had a premonition about the comedic stylings of Janeane Garofalo, though. An entirely useless portent of funny.
I rather like household tasks in that I can let my mind wander as I do them. You don't generally need to be mentally present to do things like dust, vacuum, or unload the dishwasher. Invariably something odd will pop into my head, and I'll find myself mulling over the practice of foot binding, or how to make cheese, the French Revolution, or what Dali's dreams were like. I'm going with blazingly ordinary, in case anyone cares, by the way.
So as I put away some plates, and recalled for no earthly reason Janeane Garofalo's making fun of bar patrons tripping out into the night, hurling snowballs in an attempt to prove how whimsical, and therefore attractive they are, I thought nothing of it. Just a comedy snippet stuck in my brain from ages ago. It seemed unrelated to anything, but that's just how disengaging the brain works at times.
Last night my husband and I watched TV, and eventually found ourselves tuning into HBO's Comedy channel. Well, who doesn't need a laugh, right? I didn't even think it was odd when a half hour special, circa 1995 by Janeane Garofalo came on. She's done a bunch of shows for HBO, and clearly I like her comedy enough to just have her pop into my mind.
I didn't recognize the routine throughout. It was dated material, but I enjoy acerbic wit, and that's Garofalo's forte. About thirty seconds before she segued into the bar/snow/whimsicality piece, I realized that's where she was going, paused the TV and turned to my husband to proclaim:
"Okay, that's creepy. Creepy and entirely useless," I went on to outline that I seemingly had a random thought about an old comedy routine, and then ended up watching that routine that same night. We both agreed that it was hardly the stuff that would have either of us canceling flights, or hopping in the car to procure a lottery ticket. It was just one of those "Huh, that was strange and completely without purpose." mind flukes.
I once had a dream about the fire hydrant in front of our old house. Later that day, when I was wide awake, the fire hydrant popped a gasket (or whatever) and sent water gushing everyone in an entirely harmless manner.
My point is that Miss Cleo, of the alleged prognostication abilities wouldn't exactly want to hire me for a psychic friends network.
Just saying, if by any stretch of the imagination anyone is willing to term that a premonition, and even if you aren't, there is one thing we can all agree upon: How boring. It got me thinking about all of the things in my life it would have been nice to have a heads up for prior to something happening. Almost every sad, traumatic, or even painful thing that has happened in my life actually ended up leading to other good things. I know I've mentioned before that a particularly painful car accident, while seemingly without value of any kind in my life, is also the thing that helped put me in the time and place to meet my husband. Out of most bad situations in our lives, eventually something good comes, if not directly, then in the manner in which it changed the course of things.
Except for shocks to the system. I can't think of even one instance where having the hair nearly scared off of my head ended up being of any value. The time last week when I was underwater in our pool, popped to the surface and discovered a complete stranger standing in my backyard? Yup, served no purpose other than to make me glad that I was unable to actually fall over at that moment. A landscaper was lost, thought he had the right address, and when he realized he didn't, waited for the woman in the pool to come up for air, so he could ask for help. Thankfully he wasn't holding anything that could be construed as a weapon, or else I'd have likely screamed the sky down. Instead he had gotten "Drive" confused with "Court" and needed to go visit a cul de sac nearby.
As someone whose mind wanders whenever I'm not doing anything that allows it, I tend to have the stuffing scared out of me on about a weekly basis. Like this morning.
Head phones on, back to the street, waiting for my dog to finish up her attempts to fertilize a neighbor's lawn, I stepped forward with the least elegant of items almost always in my possession: the poo bag at the ready. It's never fun, but hey, it's the polite thing to do. Then you get to tour the world with a bag of excrement, until you reach home, which is an equally "I feel pretty" sort of feeling.
"THANK YOU!" A voice boomed over my shoulder, drowning out The White Stripes, Seventh Nation Army which is no small feat, and nearly making me take a header into a steaming pile.
I made a sound eerily reminiscent of Beaker from the Muppets.
"Meep?" As I pushed my headphones out of my ears, and wondered if it was actually possible to morph into an invertebrate as it felt as if my spine was puddling around my heels. Even the dog jumped slightly, and wagged questioningly, one paw raised in the universal canine signal of "Huh?"
"Thank you so much for picking up after your dog," the man said with great gusto, "just wanted to let you know how much it's appreciated!"
About this time he seemed to take note of the fact that even my hair looked alarmed.
"Sorry if I startled you," he said in a congenial fashion.
"Oh don't worry about it," I said as I tried to fold over the top of my doggie bag in as subtle a fashion as possible. There's just something strange about trying to exchange pleasantries while holding the least lovely of dog decorations.
My neighbor continued on, happy for a morning chat, thrilled not to have dog landmines seeded across his lawn and eventually my pulse rate settled back into its regular rhythm. We discussed a community garage sale that is being planned, which I don't have any wish to attend, but where apparently there are going to be lots of lemonade stands. This means that my neighborly duty will involve nipping across the street to buy some from our neighbors incredibly adorable children. Prevent scurvy, support your local munchkins, don't let the dog crap on anything valuable, it's all in a day's doings.
Now why couldn't I have had a premonition about that? Instead it's stupid stuff about the lengths bar patrons will go to in the quest for romance.
I'm sure someone has a great story about how they saved a bus load of people from a dire bout with food poisoning when they knew, just absolutely knew that the chicken salad at the Denny's was a stone cold killer. Not me though.
Call them inklings, foresight, messages from beyond, or what-have-you, mine are ordinary enough to be discovered by perusing the TV Guide.
Sort of pointless, really. Much like this post.