Life is not orderly; I keep finding that out but always and only in hindsight. Spontaneity has a buildup to it, but again, hindsight tells me that.
Twice before, since returning from a visit to Texas to lead an aikido seminar, I began driving over to see my best friend (he lives 30 miles away from where I live) only to turn around and drive back home or somewhere else because this “no” command would come out of nowhere. I would sigh and obey. “It’s not time,” I would tell myself. “It’s just not the time.”
Yesterday must have been the time, because I thought I was going to the grocery store, but I didn’t stop and just kept right on going until I pulled into my best friend’s driveway. Hmmm.
It didn’t look like anyone was home. The front door was locked.
I went around to the back and stepped up on the back step, breaking it. “Way to go,” I told myself. I looked closely and saw that the step was about to break anyway. Well, that made me feel better, and no one was home. “You did good,” I told myself. “You made the effort, the journey, but now no one is home, so it is okay to just go home and wait for another time.”
I got into my car and pulled out of the driveway. I wasn’t even a half-mile down the road when another car coming from the opposite direction passed me and I got a funny feeling. I pulled over and watched in my side view mirror. The other car, a mini-van, had its turn signal on. I wasn’t sure if that mini-van turned into my best friend’s driveway so I turned around and did a cruise-by because I still had that funny feeling.
It turned out that mini-van had turned into my best friend’s driveway so I pulled back in and made myself known to my best friend Jim, just as he was getting out. I said my hello and immediately apologized for breaking the back step.
It was November 22, the 50th anniversary of the assassination of President JFK. “We should have a bier to commemorate the date,” I told Jim, in all solemnity. He agreed and I went to the garage to get two biers. It was then I found out that I had locked myself in the garage. (Spontaneity has its own quirks built in.) I had to knock on the door a few times, and then Jim let me in. I found a table in the kitchen and set the two biers down. Then I told Jim that I had recently had a magazine interview published and had a copy of it out in the car. “Be right back.” Wrong. I went out to my car, got the magazine, and returned only to find the front door locked. Good grief. Jim had a wooden woodpecker doorknocker installed on the front door and when I tried to use it, it broke off. Dang. I’d been there less than half an hour and managed to break two things. (“It’s ok. Life is not orderly.”)
“Don’t worry,” said Jim. “That woodpecker was set up to break. It already had a break trigger. You happened to be the one to pull that trigger.” I nodded but wasn’t sure if that got me off the hook as far as karma.
We went back inside and sat down. “How are things?” Our friendship was as intact as ever. We raised our biers: “To JFK!” Lee Harvey Oswald never got into the conversation. Neither did Jack Ruby. On November 22, 1963, we were in the fifth grade in different schools and had not even met! Jim has his memories and I have mine. That was one of those prelude times. In 1964 the Beatles were going to invade declaring: “I want to hold your hand.” And in sixth grade the seed of our best friendship was going to sprout and grow. Here in 2013, the 50th anniversary of the JFK assassination, Jim and I were able to raise our biers “To JFK!” and know an unknowable bond.
What causes lives to form friendships, best friendships, where separate lives intersect again and again? What’s the funny feeling?
It’s a good thing to have.