In the original “Anatomy of a Coincidence,” I recounted an incident a few years ago where I seemingly had “foreknowledge,” through a dream, of an event in the near-future. In the follow-up, I examine an occurrence that happened only yesterday, involving a lost wallet that I both dreamt of and then happened in reality—only within the span of a day.
But considering vital aspects of the dream and the reality were different—was this really anything more than some sort of coincidence? If it wasn’t coincidence, then what was the message?
Before waking yesterday morning, I had a vivid dream that a man stepped out of a subway car just as the doors were closing; he dropped his wallet in the train, and I picked it up. It was a black wallet, that contained some money (but not a lot of it); ID, a number of papers, and a folded-up white watch. The man was somebody maybe in his 30s-early 40s with blond hair and a beard, and blue eyes; part of his name incorporates “Bruno Borges” in it—who is, of course, the missing Brazilian man whose story I’ve been following for a couple of months now.
Yesterday evening, I had the sudden inspiration to go out to the local 7-Eleven with my husband to purchase ice-cream. On the way out the door, I saw that a package containing a book on Philip K. Dick and synchroncities—one I contributed to—was waiting for me by the front door.
As we leave the 7-Eleven, there is a black wallet sitting on the pavement of the parking lot.
We pick it up and look for contact information. The wallet has only a little bit of money, and some folded-up paperwork. The man on the ID looks nothing like the man from my dream.
We contact the guy, and wait in the parking lot for him to run over and pick up the wallet. He’s totes happy, thanks us profusely, and then we are on our way.
Now let’s examine this:
First, there is the possibility that I have made this all up, and am an unreliable narrator. I did have a witness to the fact that I had the wallet dream that morning, because I showed my journal to my husband as soon as I came home & there would have been no way I could have had time to write that dream entry out. (he was creeped out, by the way, though he’s also grown kind of used to it)
We then arrive at the question: couldn’t this have all been one big coincidence?
Dreaming of wallets and of losing things is not super-unusual. These are both very common dream-symbols. And people losing things (and running into things people have lost) is also something pretty commonplace. We just passed by someone’s lost keys hung on a fence like a week ago or less.
FURTHER: the man in my dream and the man who lost the wallet in real life were completely different. And the locations were completely different: a subway train vs. the parking lot of 7-Eleven.
FURTHER FURTHER: I had already written out an interpretation of the dream that morning, based on symbols that were relevant to me personally. I did not consider this to be a literal “future events” dream. In fact, I felt pretty certain that the “case” on that dream was “closed.”
Complicating matters is the timing of the arrival Philip K. Dick book—a book completely about the topic of synchronicity, foretelling events, and so on. And a book that I had a couple of articles on synchronicity in.
Lastly, there is a whole other synchronistic aspect to this story—from the perspective of the young man who lost his wallet.
This man was a student of meager income who was traveling and was scheduled to leave on a bus back home soon. Had he not gotten back his wallet, he would have been out of money but also out of a bus ticket + his ID.
He was fortunate that only minutes after he dropped the wallet and had left the 7-Eleven parking lot, we walked by and found the wallet. That wallet—or, at least the cash and possibly the ATM card inside if it—would not have lasted very long in that parking lot in that neighborhood on 9:00 PM on a Friday night.
One could even say that had we not decided, on the spur-of-the-moment, to step out to get ice-cream (something we usually would not do so late), this man might have lost his wallet for good.
If we think of a theory such as the Butterfly Effect, it is very possible that our decision not to go out and buy the ice cream might have resulted in him not losing his wallet…or even going to that 7-Eleven.
In the end, the only real “meaning” I can glean from this incident is what meaning I attach to it. Was it something “special?” Was it a coincidence? Was this all a “cosmic giggle” (to paraphrase Terence McKenna) designed to attract my attention to the PKD book and the subject of synchronicity in general? Is there still meaning attached to the initial dream that exists outside of the actual real-life incident?
And is the “thought” or chain of events attached to the dream/real-life intersection finally “over”?
Welcome to my life and the shit I think about.
More to read about on Butterfly Language:
Confessions Of A Tired Dreamer
Anatomy Of A Coincidence
“Waking Life,” the Movie That Got Me Hooked On Philip K. Dick