Oil Change Synchronicity

Life is made up of little episodes. For instance, out on the mail route today I had a short conversation with a handicapped gentleman. I may have been the only person he talked to all day. Who knows. We shared a couple of laughs, and then I was on my way. It's strange how paths cross like that.

Another episode. Tonight I noticed how mature my 16-year old son is getting as he drove on his learner's permit in my '91 Chevy Lumina. As he turned into our neighborhood I pointed out the waxing crescent moon over Kelly's Bay. Like a good kid, he kept his eyes on the road.

Yet another episode. Tonight my 17-year old daughter arrived home from her waitstaff shift at a local assisted living facility and told me of how she took the time to cut up someone's dinner into smaller bite-sized pieces. It didn't seem so long ago that I was cutting up her food.

And yet another episode. Just recently I was talking to my son and daughter at dinner about psychologist Carl Jung and his theory of synchronicity. (What a fun dad, huh?) I tried to explain the notion as best I could and they actually seemed interested in the concept. Basically, synchronicity occurs when two acausal events occur in a way that makes them seem somehow connected, though they are in no way connected. And yet you cannot rule out some sort of strange linkage between the two. (Or as the band the Police sang: "A connecting principle, linked to the invisible.") A simple example would be something like this : You suddenly think of an old friend with whom you have not spoken in years and later that day that same person telephones you. A more complex example might be: You get into a car accident on your way to the airport and miss your flight ... and you later learn that the plane you missed crashed with no survivors.

Well, a day or two after our dinner discussion something strange happened. I have gotten into the habit of changing the oil in our cars myself ... something about putting the car up on the ramps, crawling under there, and getting the hands dirty (it makes me feel like I have control over something in my life, I guess). Anyway, I keep a little notebook of the oil changes I've done -- when I did them, the mileage, whether or not I changed the oil filter, etc. I had written a little note to myself back in July to change the oil in our '97 Saturn Wagon at the 96,000 mile mark. So, I poke my head inside the car to read the mileage and what do you think it reads? Yes, exactly 96,000! What are the odds of that?! I don't know if you'd call it synchronicity, but I'd certainly call it spooky!

Jack Sheedy

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