There’s a weird synchronicity to life. Its like there’s this mysterious Unseen Hand that is manipulating all the events from behind the scenes.
It was July 25, 2009 and I was walking to the hospital to visit my best friend, B. N. Duncan, for the last time (he was on his death bed, literally). As I walked to the hospital I was listening to my transistor radio and all the news stations were talking about the actress Farrah Fawcett who had just died. That was the big news of the day.
About two hours later I was walking back from the hospital. I was completely drained. It had been a wrenching experience. Watching my best friend in the process of dying right in front of my eyes.
As I walked down Telegraph I passed these two little black kids who were playing in their front yard, talking to each other. “Did you hear? He just died?” said one of kids. I stopped in my tracks, swiveled my head around. How did he know??? “They just announced on the news that Michael Jackson had just died.”
Ohhhh. I stood there for a second. I felt like I was hallucinating.
- * * *
A couple days later, me and Duncan’s sister, Elaine, are at Duncan’s storage locker. We’re trying to sort through all of Duncan’s crap in this outdoor courtyard. Trying to figure out what to do with his hundreds of boxes of stuff. His “life’s work”
“We had better pack up early today,” said Duncan’s sister, who is kind of psychic. “I think its going to rain.”
“That’s ridiculous,” I said. “It never rains in July.”
But sure enough it started to sprinkle. So we packed up, and then I walked up to People’s Park in the drizzle to hang out with Hate Man.
Hate Man was hanging by the bulletin board at the far end of People’s Park facing Bowditch Street. I had blown up Duncan’s obituary from the Oakland Tribune on an 11-by-17 xerox and posted it in the middle of the bulletin board. And Hate Man was reading the obituary. Suddenly — and I swear to God with Hate Man as my witness — this huge and brightly-colored rainbow appeared in the sky. The rainbow went from one side of People’s Park to the other. And the bulletin board was centered exactly right in the middle of the rainbow. And the photo of Duncan’s face from the newspaper article was exactly centered in the middle of the middle. It was as if Duncan’s face was staring right up at the rainbow. As if he had conjured it. As if he had staged this fantastic farewell to the town he loved.
- * * *
The Hindus believe that when a person dies, his spirit lingers for several weeks in the area where they lived. Before they finally merge back with the cosmos. And for a couple of weeks the person’s spirit can bless his friends and curse his enemies and just sort of stir up a little mishief for old time’s sake before he says good-by to planet earth and this mortal coil. And I kinda’ believe that. It seems plausable. And I’ve witnessed several eerie examples of that when friends of mine had died.
Anyways, later that night I was trudging up to my campsight up in the Berkeley hills. There was a big rock concert at the Greek Theatre, this outdoor stadium, and the music was wafting in the air. It was this cosmic, celestial song about soaring in the “atmosphere.” I recognized the song from this alternative radio station that sometimes played it. As I passed these women coming out of the concert I asked them: “Do you know who this band is?”
“Its Death Cab for Cuties,” she said.
And it was perfect. Because that cute old guy Duncan was soaring through the atmosphere in his death cab on his way to the Next Life at that very moment. If you wrote scenes like that in a movie it would be hokey and unbelievable. But real life is weirder than any movie I’ve ever seen. That’s probably why I almost never go to movies.