Idle Thoughts

I’ve always been a big believer in coincidence.A few coincidences have had a big impact on my life.But I haven’t always spotted them at the time, and I look back now and I think why didn’t I listen to that inner voice?So the key with coincidences is firstly to spot them in the first place, and then perhaps even more importantly, to figure out what they mean……

A case in point: last Saturday I left the stall and went for a cup of coffee at Cafe Nero a nearby coffee shop. Nothing unusual about that, I often need a change of scene and a break from the hectic pace of Northampton Market. But this particular Saturday was to be very different and my coincidence radar was to start pinging off the scale.

I got my coffee and bought a paper-The Times- from the rack. It was busy and I was lucky to get a seat. A few regulars nodded at me. Sometimes half acquaintances have a quick chat but today it was just me and the paper. But when I began reading the first story something peculiar happened: I already knew it in every detail. I hurriedly read a second, and that too I was thoroughly acquainted with. I’ve already pointed out that I’ve missed a couple of major coincidences in my life, and that if I had spotted them at the time they could have made a big difference, so by now I’m paying close attention. I read a third. Wham, talk about deja vue, I knew every damn sentence even before I read it. This is one of the weirdest experiences I’ve ever had. One of the stories is about a big earthquake in central Italy. Few people were hurt because a previous quake had already got them out of their homes.

But if I had already known this was going to happen couldn’t my prior warning of them have still made a difference? I might have been in a position to save lives. And if I knew this even before the paper had, then what else might I know? I looked around Nero’s at the other patrons and they all looked normal, sipping away at their coffee and chatting. Did they know for instance that Northampton’s free paper the Herald and Post was to close at the end of November (this month)?. Did the staff who worked at the Post even know? Should I tell them?

I suddenly realised that I knew all this stuff- masses of it - in advance of everybody else in the world. There is a film currently playing at Sixfield’s Cinema called Dr Strange, where the title character astrally projects out of his own body and that’s what seemed to be happening to me. I had this immense and incredible fore knowledge and absolutely no idea where it came from.

I started thinking about the council. Those rascals at the Guildhall are always up to something and it usually ends in calamity for the town. What if I knew before they did their next disaster even before they actually did it? - Don’t lend the money! - shrink the Bus Station! - sell the statue! How far could this new found power be taken? Stocks and shares? Gold prices? The whole world economy could be predicated, fortunes lost and made by what I knew.It was intoxicating. All this because I had trained myself to spot coincidences. Amazing.

I was sitting there dazzled and a bit dazed by these new possibilities when I was approached by the friendly barista who often chats when I go in. “Did you get that paper off the rack Fitzy?” Because of my new heightened sense of existence and awareness of possible coincidences, I decided I had better listen very carefully to whatever he had to say next. “It’s yesterday’s.” He said taking it from me. “Sorry. Here’s today’s. I saw you reading it looking a bit baffled.” “Thanks.” I said accepting the exchange. I made my way back to the stall. Shoppers on Abingdon Street bustled about totally unaware of my lost epithany; my super powers snatched away.