The Art of Derek Dohren

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What are the chances?

Posted by Derek John Dohren on May 25, 2010 at 4:56 PM

Odd things co-incidences. It doesn't matter how minor or irrelevant they are in themselves the sheer co-incidentness of them is startling sometimes. If you get two in a short time that's really weird. Three in two days is hard to comprehend. I'm sure everything can be explained by mathematics and other sciences of course but it doesn't make these things any less gobsmacking.

 

And I'm talking about nailed on, absolutely clear cut, extremely unlikely co-incidences here.

 

First coincidence: A name I had never heard of before caught my imagination and I looked the origins of it up on Wikipedia. It was the name of some medieval saint over here. Within hours, I received a spam email from someone with the exact same name.

 

Second one: During a conversation I was having in a cafe down town someone rode past on a bicycle, bizarrely broadcasting a piece of music from a film we were actually discussing.

 

Both of those things happened yesterday. They both freaked me out.

 

Then today: In Granada this morning I was coming from teaching a class. As I strolled towards the effing bus stop I was mulling over the versatility of a certain English swear word, a word that may be used as a verb, noun, adjective, preposition or adverb. Barely two hours later I came across the exact same thing, written out almost word for word, in a novel I'm currently reading. Believe me, I hadn't been reading ahead.

 

What does this all mean? Almost certainly it means nothing. How can it mean anything? Why should it mean anything? What would be the point? We think, say and do a billion things a day and then immediately forget most of it. There are bound to be occasional co-incidences with certain events and conversations and they will be the ones we remember, the ones that stick in the mind. And yet, when these things strike like that they have a habit of unsettling you.

 

Of course you can't will these things to happen. It's almost as if once you become conscious of the possibility of co-incidence it can't, by some sort of rule of physics, actually happen. God knows I've tried to make myself rich and successful by thought processes alone yet muttering out loud the words 'imagine if I found a 1,000 Euro note on the pavement this morning' have so far yielded no results.

 

I shall go to bed tonight imagining an art collector somewhere is imagining that an artist somewhere is lying in obscurity imagining that he's going to be discovered by this collector. Stranger things happen every day. Sometimes more than once.

Categories: Granada Revisited