“I think there’s some amount of hypnosis that happens…”
“I think he just memorized every word in that book. Or maybe every page was doctored to start with the same word…”
“I kind of think that magicians are time manipulators…”
So there we were. Two adults and one kid in adult drag, drinking beer crafted by monks in some relatively ancient time and having a perfectly rational conversation about a magic show. I guess I should start this story at the beginning, though these days I’m finding more and more that when this wave started is likely as old as the hills.
I’m sitting in my favorite spot on the top of the hill outside Oslo and with some time on my hands, I start listening to a pod cast called Always Record Episode #90. I had been looking forward to this since I saw that the podcast was Back to the Future themed. Weeks earlier I had flown on one of the new Norwegian “Dreamliner” planes from NYC to Oslo and I found that the in-flight magazine had a feature cover story entitled “The Car That Was the Future: The Amazing True Story of the DeLorean & Its Unlikely Comeback.” When I flipped the magazine open to find the article, I found that it started on page 42. It was the first time I had seen my most current fascinations with Transformers (of which the famed fictional DeLorean could definitely be considered), time, and the number42 all rolled into one. I was ecstatic.
I’m 0:19:30 minutes into the Always Record episode when a voice mentions the name “Rudy” (In reference to Supertramp’s album called “Crime of the Century”) and my mind starts to wander. “I wonder if Andy’s talked to Rudi lately…”
Just then Andy turns the corner to check in on me. I take my ear buds out in anticipation, and ask him what’s up. He replies: “You’ll never guess who I just caught up with.”
I smile, one eyebrow piqued at attention.
“I just got off the phone with Rudi. Want to meet up with him for beers later?”
These days when my sync waves hit, I feel like I’m riding them for days. It feels as if I’m slightly out of alignment with reality and instead I’m hovering above and behind (or ahead?) of myself, like a director overseeing life as film to manipulate into a coherent story. It’s the heightened poetic awareness of an observer whose distance and perspective paradoxically allows for the tiniest of details to shine in sharp and focused ways. It always feels cinematic and usually leads to, or is a result of, artistic inspiration.
“Of course! I’d love to.”
Flux capacitor is clearly fluxing…Who wouldn’t take that ride?
We get off the train in Oslo and have to catch a tram to our first destination. All along the way to our stop I’m distracted and hopping from one street manhole cover to another looking at the BBs staring back at me. Right after I found the “Dreamliner” DeLorean article, I was walking along the alleyways of Bergen and spotted some street art that got me thinking about BumbleBees as transformers (they fit the literal definition, and are also the namesake for BumbleBee of the animated Transformers). Because I like numbers, I started associating “BB” as an alphanumeric 22. 22 is a beautifully strong number and, among other things, vibrates time and the end of a cycle. Not so curiously, the new Transformers movie is called Age of Extinction and features BumbleBee as one of five remaining good guys.
Staring at my feet and lost in thought, I was unaware that our tram was arriving. Andy grabbed my hand and I looked up. I giggle in half-hearted disbelief.
“Is that our fucking tram!?”
“We’re riding 142.”
We get to our intended destination and enjoy multiple cups of coffee before deciding we’re hungry and that it’s time to call Rudi and figure out where to meet up. I stop to take photos of more street art while Andy makes the call. Rudi suggests a place nearby called “The Night Hawk”.
As we turn the corner and find ourselves in the doorway of The Night Hawk, I remove my heart shaped glasses and whisper out loud, to no-one in particular:
“You just can’t make this shit up!”
…And then immediately thought: “I should have worn a puffer vest!”
Alas! End sight is 20/20.
The restaurant is a 1950s American style diner complete with cheese burgers, milkshakes, and servers in 50s style uniforms…and a Juke Box. As the waitress leads us to our seats, I stop in front of the box as Andy continues on to our booth. There’s a man in uniform leaning against it who says nothing, but watches me as I scan the machine intently with my hands pressed against the glass. He points to a button and says:
“You can play #14…It’s a very good song.”
I press the button without a second’s hesitation.
I look up at him with furrowed brows, eyes as cartoon question marks. I’m vibrating from the intensity of what seems to be reality rapidly folding around my thoughts. He bursts into laughter and pushes my shoulder, playfully jarring me back into physical reality.
“It doesn’t work!”
I start to breathe and blink again, and then erupt into giggles.
“WHYyy would you do that to me?!?”
“You just looked very interested…”
(He’s right. I’ve never been known to have much of a poker face.)
“Fair enough! I’m just curious…what’s song #14?”
“Well, you’d have to pick a letter first. A or B perhaps? But there’s no sound anyway. We disconnected it.”
“That’s ok!” I said with a smile. But as I walked away to find my booth I heard an animated voice in my head saying “Stupid Decepticons! …Always trying to cut off sound wave communications while we’re just trying to dig the decibels.”
I got back to the booth just before Rudi walked in, with enough time to jot down my thoughts. We all hugged hello, remarked on how long it had been since we were together, and then slipped into our seats. After we ordered and our beers arrived Rudi, in an effort to politely engage, asked me how I was. I was distracted again, glancing out the window and noticing the cafe across the street was named “Cafe 33”, but I enthusiastically snapped my attention back to him.
“Can I tell you a story?! You will not believe the mind fuck I just had!…Am having!!”
My favorite people are those characters with whom you feel like no time has passed; even if it’s been years and the dream landscape has changed dramatically. After some convincing that I was not high on anything of an artificial nature, we spent the rest of the evening bar-hopping and doing something between catching up on and stopping time. We spoke of synchronicity and talismans, and we told stories and raised our glasses to strangeness and all the ways it often trickles into the familiar.