Uncanny coincidences kept cropping up yesterday as I attended a gathering of one of those “Meet Up” groups.
Got eerie, downright mystical-like, if you know what I mean.
Started out with flowers I brought for the meeting, mostly young professionals with a few gray-haired types to make me feel more at home. They were purple. They matched the “motif” of this consciousness-raising event. Rufiya, the host, pointed to posters matching to a “T” their color and “flower-like” design. The posters were plastered on walls announcing the three-day “Congress” the group held with some 1,200 other internet plug-in participants world-wide, according to the key note speaker, Dr. Michael Laitman, who spoke live from a site in the Middle East.
Sat next to an 11-year-old named Adam. Asked myself what we could have in common, when a topic popped up: paint ball guns! Someone had mentioned the Vietnam War, and his face lit up when I asked him if he knew anything about guns. Next thing you know, we’re discussing things I learned from my son, Nicholas, when he was Adam’s age. “You know you can freeze the balls, and shoot pesky pigeons,” I said. Chatting more, we touched on “smoking” and how his dad lit up cigars. “He’s a doctor,” he said. “Could be worse,” I countered. “He could have been a lawyer.”
“”Are you a lawyer?” Adam followed up. “Yes, a public defender here in Philadelphia.” Hadn’t planned to tell anyone of my earlier work, but felt I could talk with this youngster, particularly when he asked me what my worse cases may have been like. Told him about some homicides. One, a woman who struck a bicyclist with her car, had fled the scene. Police stopped her as she turned one corner and then another, in what her Defense (Me) said was an effort to pull a “U-turn” to come back to the scene of the crime, where you’re required to stop, particularly when someone is injured. “What happened to the person on the bicycle?” the 11-year-old asked, not quite understanding what the word homicide may have meant. “He died,” I answered. “The jury found her guilty, and she went to jail.”
He nodded his head. You can’t run away from problems in life, I said, and added the verdict was probably justified despite my efforts to “get her off.” He seem to understand the second case better. It involved a man arguing with a fellow passenger on a bus who ended up killing him near the rear door exit. The two had stood and yelled at each other, when the victim had actually gotten off, only to step back onto the bus, where he fell backwards as my client pushed him. Struck the ground head first, cracking his skull. “He didn’t mean to do it,” I said of the defendant. “But the judge found him guilty of something called involuntary manslaughter. He said each of us is accountable for our actions, even though we may not mean to cause such harm.”
Another youngster I met was A 19-year-old long-haired fellow named Anthony who reminded me of my son, Nicholas, because of the striking similarities. Both went to a trade school (like me, I might add), studied auto mechanics, and grew hair way beyond the shoulder length in keeping with their dreams of one day becoming rock & roll stars. Both play the guitar, (Nick lead guitar, Anthony, the bass) and both sing (Nick sings lead, while Anthony does back-up, like I did).
Two women who were a little bit older, Tamila and Cora originally from Azerbrijan, told me they were “called” to the spiritual path by the lure of the Sufi, the Islamic sect that got me looking further within. They also followed the path of the Buddha for several years, just as I have started six months ago.
It got spooky when a fellow my age and completely blind knew of an incident 40 years ago that I was telling the group to show how “tough” the section of the city was where I grew up. “Big Dave was killed in a drive-by shooting outside of his house,” I told some 20 people gathered for dinner. No sooner had I mentioned this, when Michael, a person with one of the keenest intellects I’ve met in years, pinpointed the exact location of the shooting.
“Twenty-seventh and Parish streets,” he said, staring in my direction with eyes that saw more than anyone at the table. How he knew, I never really figured out. Just like all these coincidences that really weren’t “coincidences” kept appearing throughout the day. Something’s “afoot,” I told Rufiya, explaining that I intend to return and investigate this Meet-Up a lot more. Buy into it, and weigh the scale of merits, so to speak. Might have a lot to teach me over the next six months or so.