Thursday, February 26, 2009

Archangel Gabriel & the Pink Bathing Suit

Last week at our salon meeting, I told a story about how I once stole a shocking-pink velvet bathing suit I couldn't live without and couldn't otherwise afford from Saks Fifth Avenue. It was shortly after I'd finished reading Jean Genet's "The Thief's Journal," and I was about 21 years old. In the interest of self-disclosure, this was my one and only theft, historic and literary-induced. But it was in an era before surveillance cameras were installed inside dressing rooms. I knew that if I made it out of the store and as far as the street with the item in my black attache case, I would be unassailable, once outside the immediate premises. I took the elevator down to the street level, left the store, and unabashedly continued walking up Fifth Avenue feeling elatedly proud of myself--when suddenly, I felt an ominous tap on the shoulder from someone who had come up from behind. I can still feel the "Uh oh, now I'm done for" as physical fear flooded my body. I turned around to squarely face my accoster. Upon which, the man said to me: "Do you happen to know the correct time?"

Thinking about this weird synchronicity of the stranger's ominous, annunciatory tap on my shoulder that day remains striking; nothing similar has ever happened to me before or since. I tend to think the universe probably had its eye on me, and the benign tap was its way of saying, "We'll let you off the hook this time, dude, but don't you ever try this kind of thing again!"

Subsequently this week, I wrote to Michael Rumaker, sending him this story--we have been emailing ever since I published my last blog about his book, "Black Mountain Days"-- he had asked me at one point if I was psychic. I told him he could judge for himself once he'd read my memoir, "Living the Magical Life." He wrote me back that the "lovely moment of that stranger tapping you on the shoulder on Fifth Ave. after you'd swiped the pink bathing suit from Saks was your better angel perhaps asking really, as you say, 'Do you have the time for this, even though you stole from a rich corporation who could well afford the loss?'" Michael suggested that the man tapping me on the shoulder might have been a messenger angel: "Messenger angels are everywhere," he said, "and come in various guises and are often perceived as the "lowest of the low" who have nothing to teach us. but they have much we need to learn, to hear. I do believe the fields of energy we project pull us to and pull to us the people we need to meet, in, to borrow your word, the truly "meaningful" coincidence, for better or worse. Sometimes it's a momentary tap on the shoulder, and sometimes it's sartori, blow of light! as it was with Olson smiting me awake at Black Mountain."

Yes, I definitely believe in messenger angels, and as any reader of this blog knows well, I spend much time divining answers to my questions. My own awakening to synchronicity as perhaps the central force field in the universe came when I was writing "Living the Magical Life." It may be the only memoir extant which constructs its narrative quite deliberately (I realized halfway through writing it) by mapping synchronicities as the nodal points actually weaving my life together. By which I mean that all of the life-changing things that happened to me and led me down certain paths, seem to have occurred independently of my own intentions. Things I desperately wanted, for instance, didn't pan out, but other things did--many of them just appearing, out of nowhere, seemingly out of the blue, and shooting me through like Elsa Maxwell out of a cannon ball.

Then my friend Jane wrote to me about Obama's speech on Tuesday night. She likened Obama to the Archangel Gabriel, and the dismissive faces and body language of certain Republicans in the audience, by way of contrast, to the distorted grimaces of Hieronymous Bosch figures in "The Garden of Earthly Delights: "pig-headed, inbred, and unpromising." And I thought, yes, Obama's speech WAS an annunciation of sorts, a message of future success for our country. But it was also the ominous tap on the shoulder to say, "Don't let's ever try this sort of unmitigated fiscal nonsense again!"

Then I Googled " Archangel Gabriel" for clues. Gabriel, if you don't already know, was the angel sent to Mary to inform her that she would conceive Jesus, but intriguingly, he was also the angel who revealed the Koran to the prophet Mohammed in the mosque of Medina. Undoubtedly another auspicious synchronicity erupting into plain view.

Last night the Obamas entertained Stevie Wonder in the White House, who was receiving the Library of Congress's Gershwin Prize for popular music. The president is a well-known fan — Wonder performed at his nominating convention in Denver last summer and at a Lincoln Memorial concert before his January inauguration. "I think it's fair to say that had I not been a Stevie Wonder fan, Michelle might not have dated me, we might not have married," Obama said, with his wife sitting in the front row. "The fact that we agreed on Stevie was part of the essence of our courtship."

Synchronicities, if you follow them carefully, long and far enough, are surely the marks of a sophisticated, dark wizard. Watch next for Republican Bobby Jindal, giving another speech on the steps of the White House, wearing dreadlocks and dressed in a stolen pink bathing suit, a copy of Jean Genet's "The Thief's Journal" and of the Koran secreted in his black attache case. God will be whispering in your ear, "It's all good." The picture above is of Gabriel, Georgian, 13th century.

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