This Karma Vs. Coincidence thing seems to have a karma of its own. What I mean is, ever since I wrote that post a few weeks ago I've had some attention on the phenomenon of unlikely things happening simply because I have my attention on them. And as a result of that it seems to keep happening. Or maybe these things happen all the time but I haven't been really noticing it as much as I have been recently.
Anyway, here's the latest installment...
Last Thursday night at 9:05 I picked up a middle-aged, Australian woman in the Meat-Packing District who was headed for the Holiday Inn Hotel in Chinatown. She was in great spirits and quite chatty and we wound up having one of those lively conversations that easily bounce around all over the place. We somehow got on the subject of internet dating and she told me that she'd tried it and had gone through a couple of dozen dates that didn't amount to anything, except for one particular man whom she'd dated for eight months. And then she told me this truly bizarre story of something that had happened to him years before she'd met him...
He was a policeman in Perth. One day he pulled a motorist over to the side of the road in a deserted area for a traffic infraction. While he was speaking to the motorist, a third man approached them on foot. For no reason whatsoever this third man suddenly pulled out a gun and fired it into the head of not the cop, but the motorist sitting in his car, killing him instantly.
Her former boyfriend (the cop) immediately did what he'd been trained to do, which was to run away in zig-zags to make himself a difficult target. Nevertheless, he was hit by a bullet in the thigh. Fortunately he was able to keep running and he did elude the maniac with the gun.
I asked her why he didn't pull out his own gun and she told me that at that time police officers in Australia did not carry weapons. But that now they do. And that the reason that law was changed was this very incident. So it was a famous case in Australia.
Anyway, later that evening the gunman, whom my passenger described as a "psychiatric case", went to the home of his boss with the intention of killing him, too. The boss, however, was somehow able to talk him out of it and his would-be killer left, only to turn his gun on himself and commit suicide a few hours later.
Ten years went by. Apparently according to Australian law, evidence must be held by the government for ten years even when the perpetrator is dead and no one had been put on trial. At the end of that time, the evidence is either given back to whomever it belonged to, or it is destroyed. In this case the policeman, who at that time was dating my passenger, was notified that if he wanted the bullets that had been recovered at the murder scene, he could have them.
He decided to accept them. But then, having accepted them, he didn't know what to do with them and this became an odd dilemma. He was considering, among other options, having them mounted in transparent plexiglass as a trophy, but, as this was at the time when they stopped dating, my passenger wasn't sure what he had finally decided to do with them.
And that was the Australian bullet story.
Two hours later I pick up another middle-aged Australian woman. Now right away the odds of picking up two middle-aged Australian women in the same shift are quite slim, probably on the order of 10,000 to 1. I can't recall that this ever happened before. This one also is quite chatty and we engage in a lively conversation. The discussion turns to the danger of crime being commited in a taxicab, and then to crime in general. And then to the police.
Without any prompting from me, she makes this statement: "The police in Australia don't carry guns. Well, they do now, but they never did until recently."
After picking up my eyes (which had popped out of my head) and my jaw (which had dropped to the floor), I informed her that the ex-girlfriend of the cop whose case caused that law to be changed was sitting in the seat she now occupies only two hours ago.
Once again, I ask you, what are the odds here? What are the odds of a second Australian woman appearing in my cab and bringing up the same subject that a previous Australian woman had been talking about only two hours earlier? Was this coincidence?
Or do things actually appear out of nowhere simply because we have our attention on them?
Come to think of it, this might be a pretty good time to put your attention on Pictures From A Taxi. Just click right here.