A few days ago, while enjoying a friend's birthday dinner in the back room of El Quijote, i looked up while rolling my eyes at a joke about penguins and noticed the decorative lattice work on the ceiling, and felt that the two or three plastic vines running through it just werent nearly enough. It looked unfinished and needed more like twenty. But the lattice, combined with the shrimp i was eating, was enough to remind me of the scene in the movie Repo Man where the character "Miller" talks about 'a lattice of coincidence that lays over everything".
El Quijote, the classic Spanish restaurant next door to the notorious Chelsea Hotel on 23rd street, is one of my favorite spots here in NYC - classic old school surf and turf, with Spanish delights such as Paela Valencia and Chicken Villaroy, all seasoned with a huge amount of salt, and served in an original 'Old Spain' decor with Don Quixote murals, Don Quixote statues, and art deco glass - left largely unmolested since the 30s. White tablecloths, and you cant wear a hat.
Next door, in the late 70's at the Chelsea Hotel, temporary resident Sid Vicious stabbed Nancy Spungeon to death, and a bit later the hotel was home to everybody's favorite Ramone, Dee Dee, who was convinced that Satan worshippers were living in the basement feeding people to piranhas. Not to mention the list of other former guests who's names might carry more weight outside the disgusting world of "rock music", such as Mark Twain, Tennessee Williams, and Stanley Kubrick....
Nancy Spungeon carried out after her murder.
Sid Vicious under arrest for the murder of Nancy Spungeon
If you havent seen Repo Man, a punk cult classic from 1984, starring a very young Emilio Esteves and the beloved Harry Dean Stanton, i suggest you netflix it immediately. Maybe amazon the soundtrack too while you're at it. Black Flag, Iggy, Circle Jerks, Fear, Suicidal Tendencies, etc. Both are great.
But if you have seen it, you'll no doubt remember Miller saying "A lot o' people don't realize what's really going on. They view life as a bunch o' unconnected incidents 'n things. They don't realize that there's this, like, lattice o' coincidence that lays on top o' everything. Give you an example; show you what I mean: suppose you're thinkin' about a plate o' shrimp. Suddenly someone'll say, like, plate, or shrimp, or plate o' shrimp out of the blue, no explanation. No point in lookin' for one, either. It's all part of a cosmic unconciousness". Miller's character was the that of Repo shop mechanic, possibly an ex-hippie burnout, and it's easy to write off what he said as the inane ramblings of a drug casualty, but what he was talking about was no less than Carl Gustav Jung's "THEORY OF SYNCHRONICITY".
Synchronicity is the experience of two or more events that are causally (not casually) unrelated, occurring together in a meaningful manner. To count as synchronicity, the events should be unlikely to occur together by chance. The concept does not question, or compete with, the notion of causality. Instead, it maintains that just as events may be grouped by cause, they may also be grouped by their meaning. Since meaning is a complex mental construction, subject to conscious and subconscious influence, not every correlation in the grouping of events by meaning needs to have an explanation in terms of cause and effect.
I lifted that straight from an encyclopedia, and as i'm no Mensa candidate, it almost gave me a headache trying to understand it. But the short description is simply "meaningful coincidence", often in a way that might relate to you personally.
Like a coincidence that would make you say "BALLS MARIE, man".. Some people might describe it as a "sign" - Say you're wondering if you need your umbrella and then your hear a crash of thunder. Or say you pull into a packed parking lot and suddenly a car pulls out creating a space for you. Or say you're walking along, thinking "i really could use a drink", but there are no bars in sight. You round the next corner and there's a gay bar with cheap drink specials. You go inside and have a FANTASTIC TIME. These are all good examples of synchronicity that have happened to other people than myself.
There are many more references to this concept in popular culture. The Police, probably under Sting's coersion, titled their last record Synchronicity, and while it was their biggest selling record it was also their worst, and predicted the downward spiral that later spawned Sting's "Dream of the Blue Turtles" solo nightmare. The Police were my first 'favorite band', and looking back i remember feeling disappointed and betrayed by the band that i felt should have given us more "Walking on the Moon" new wave reggae...
Another band victimized by this same syndrome was U2. From 'Sunday Bloody Sunday', 'New Years Day', and 'Refugee', and those first 2 or 3 stunning albums, to "the Fly" and "Lemon"!? WTF? And those glasses?
The short explanation might be "Ego", another psychological theory. But that's a discussion best saved for another time...