Thursday, April 7, 2011

The Butterfly Effect, Not Starring Ashton Kutcher


All too often are we the victims of freak cause and effect rather than the beneficiaries. A butterfly flaps its wings in Madagascar causing a cascade reaction that ends in Frank Chu doing a haymaker on Gavin Newsome. San Francisco’s pretty-boy former mayor is pulled off by bodyguards, but pumps his fist at Chu to signify a forthcoming terrible revenge, perturbing the air currents just enough to result in tornados in Kazakhstan, killing fifteen and an innocent goat.

Somehow that changed for me recently, at least temporarily.

My recent chain of cause and effect goes something like this: A Friday night bar hop goes explosively wrong and results in (perhaps self-imposed) social isolation that, coupled with the geographic isolation of living in North Oakland, pushes me to get out and explore again. Less than a week later a massive earthquake rocks the Tohoku Region of Northeastern Japan and aid agencies, among others, scramble to respond. Benefits are had, money is donated, and three Japanese women in Albany organize an impromptu bazaar in a vacant storefront on Telegraph Avenue, in Berkeley.

One week later, after Sunday brunch at The Drunken Boat just a few doors down, I wander into the bazaar and out of the driving rain. Among the Neil Diamond records, Doraemon postcards and homemade lemon cupcakes I spot an old VIZ coworker I hadn’t seen in over six years. When she first landed at the company in 2001 I had an embarrassingly massive crush on her—almost as massive as my complete dorkiness that prevented any kind of relationship past being simply friends. We chat, reminisce about old times and agree to meet up for dinner in the near future. That happens once. Then it happens again.

Then I have a girlfriend in this ghost from my past, and she makes me feel happy for the first time in a good long while.

As I read over the above set of circumstances again it’s impossible to ignore where it could have turned out different. Zig where I should have zagged, Aunt Mary’s or Sconehenge for the meal instead of The Drunken Boat. What if I’d gone in before eating and she wasn’t there, or decided to heed the expired parking meter and drive off instead of chancing a ticket and entering the bazaar? It boggles the mind, really.

Thanks, Fate, you’ve been kind recently to this individual. Don’t do something to lose my trust in you, OK?