The run of coincidental weirdness continues on my West coast trip with what was the strangest experience yet (see here and here for previous instances)...
I got up this morning, and decided that I would catch the bus and head out past Westwood to visit the Getty Center, which is perhaps my favourite place in Los Angeles. The afternoon was a wonderful mix of art and reflection on the grounds, about as close as you can get to a Walden moment in Los Angeles, and then I caught the bus and headed back to Hollywood. By the time I got back to Greg's apartment, it was 6:00 pm, and I was really hungry, having eaten only a package of M & M's up until that point. I decided to head over to the Farmer's Market to grab dinner and catch some Thursday night live jazz. I grabbed a book to read - at first I picked a collection of John Shirley short stories, but at the last second I switched it, and took another book, which I had been meaning to read. More on that in a bit.
The place was jumping when I got there, and the tables in the area around the stage in the West Patio was packed. I wandered off to another section where my favourite deli is located, and ordered a cheeseburger. Now usually I just get it plain - burger and cheddar cheese, and nothing else - but this time, because there were other options on the cheese, and because I was getting a bit bored with the "same old, same old", I decided to switch it up. I went with Swiss cheese. That's important.
Anyway, the burger was going to take a couple of minutes, so I grabbed a beer from a nearby bar, wandered back to the deli to pick up my burger and fries, and then headed back to the section of the Market where the jazz group was playing to see if I could find a seat there. It was still packed, but there was a table at the back of the area, near an entrance, that wasn't taken, so I moved as quickly as I could through the crowd to get it before anyone else could, which I did. I sat down, pulled the book I had brought with me out of my knapsack, placed it on the table, and then began to eat dinner.
The jazz was good, the food was better, and the beer was the best part of all after a long day of walkabouts and bus rides. As I was eating my dinner, however, an elderly couple approached my table. There were three unused seats, and over the music the woman motioned to them as if to ask whether they were taken or not. I smiled, nodded, and said "they're all yours." She returned the smile, sat down with her husband, and listened to the jazz for a bit as I finished up my food. As the band finished up their set, the man stood up and headed off to get some them some food.
I'm a friendly sort, and I always like talking to people, so I looked over at the woman and asked whether she was from Los Angeles. As soon as she spoke, I knew that she was from further away than I was - her accent was definitely European, although I couldn't quite place it. Turns out she and her husband were from... you guessed it - Switzerland!
I chuckled to myself - these random people who had sat down next to me were from Switzerland, and for the first time in months I had ordered a hamburger with Swiss cheese on it instead of cheddar. Weird.
Then it got weirder.
I asked her what they were doing in the United States, and it turns out that they come here every second year to visit their daughter, and then vacation. "Oh," I said, "that's nice. Where does your daughter live?"
"Dallas," she replied.
I immediately looked at the book on the table in front of me, the one that I had grabbed at the very last minute instead of the one that I had first picked up back at the apartment. It was Final Events by my good friend Nick Redfern, who lives in... Dallas!
Like I said... weird.
Or, as The Fixx would say:
Or, as The Fixx would say:
I'm beginning to wonder if I've drifted into an alternate reality, because I'm not making this stuff up!