Re-reading Cosmic Trigger for the ongoing online Cosmic Trigger reading group (if you haven't joined us, go ahead and jump in — we haven't gotten very far and it's not too late to take part), and reading about the strange things that Robert Anton Wilson saw, or thought he saw, leads me to pose a question. Have you ever seen anything you couldn't explain?
I had such an experience maybe 10 years ago. It wasn't as dramatic as the events in Cosmic Trigger, but it startled me.
I worked for a little under a year at a weekly business newspaper in downtown Cleveland, before I left for the job I have now. I sat next to a slender young woman with long hair who was very nice.
We didn't have free parking there, so we had to pay a parking company to have a place to park our cars. I was a reporter, often having to leave the office for interviews, so I didn't have the option very often of using public transportation to get to work, which I would have preferred to having to drive downtown.
Downtown parking was expensive, so must of us chose to park in the Flats, an area west of downtown where the parking was cheaper.
It wasn't uncommon for me to run into one of my office mates as I walked to the office from the Flats after returning from an appointment. And so one day, as I was going back to the office, I saw the young woman who sat next to me as she walked to the Flats. Then I returned to the office — and there was the young woman who I had just clearly seen walking away from the office.
I was very startled, and I've wondered since then about my mind playing tricks on me.
Rationally, it seems to me that perhaps I simply saw someone else and mistook her for the young woman who sits next to me at work. In fact, that must be what had happened. But the incident surprised me at the time, and I haven't forgotten it.