When’s the last time you wondered about fate and all that jazz? And I don’t mean to make light of something so profound. I’m told our people have a special word for it: shukumei or unmei, as in destiny. But naw, I’m talking about the garden-variety kind of serendipity, what might fall into the category of chance rather than religious or philosophical connotation.
Like I’m coming home the other day from Li’l Tokio, east on Fourth Street before Alameda. At midblock I have to come to a stop because a homeless guy saunters into the street. While I wait for a safe crossing, he suddenly strides to the passenger side of my car and gives it a heavy-booted kick. Whammo! Without so much as a hi-de-do. Why? I’m not about to stick around for an explanation. Glad I drive with windows closed and doors locked.
Later I’m filling up the gas tank, happy the kick didn’t dent the car. A young boy comes by selling candy bars, three bucks a pop for his school fundraiser, two for five. Hazelnut chocolate, not my kind of sugar. I feel lousy after turning him down. When I return to the island after getting my change, a young lass is waiting: “Candy sale for my school, Sir, two for only five dollars.” I buy two, eliciting a smiling thank-you.I then look for the other kid to rectify my earlier turn-down. Darn. He’s gone.
So yeah, instead of wondering when I’m gonna go to sleep and not wake up, I question stuff like why the dude kicks the side of my car when I stop so’s not to run him over. And self-debate (debase?) turning down one candy bar seller and then accepting another. Yeah, lemme tell you for sure, life is a constant dilemma of questions and doubt.
Another example: Those of you who live here about remember last week’s 4.4 earthquake; it struck at 6:25 a.m. Shook things up, but did no real damage other than to revive talk about The Big One. Well, folks, take a look at CR2S’s recount of that Monday: After going to bed at 10:55 p.m., eyes open at 1:25 a.m. and then again at 3:20; a bathroom run at the later hour. Now awake at 6:17, I decide another thirty minutes of snooze is in order since it wasn’t a morning I had to shave.
Surprisingly, I fell asleep again until 6:47 a.m. In other words, I slept through the earthquake, even though I was totally awake eight minutes earlier! Hard to believe. So much so I remained silent while it was the only topic of conversation at breakfast. I mean, how could anyone, especially such a notoriously light sleeper like CR2S, not be awakened by the quake? I have no plausible answer.
This admission could cast doubt on the number of awakenings attributed to “Oh-bah-keh-sama” and the past rings of the telephone. If CR2S can gu-gu sleep through an earthquake, how and why such meticulous notations of “O” intrusions over the years? No matter how many knocks and rings I’ve officially reported, how many have been missed?
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There is an “I” in Believe:
I believe erstwhile Brigadier General Jeffrey A. Sinclair is a five-star scoundrel and military justice is a farce. [CR2S knows a little something about courts-martials.] Meanwhile in India, five convicted rapists received life sentences . . .
And what a coincidence the Anita Hill story pops up at the same time. With Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas’ wife leaving a voicemail asking for a Hill apology . . .
My interest in March Madness is noting the names of players rather than who wins and bracket-busters. Having grown up in the simple prewar era of Georges, Johns, Toms and Henrys, am fascinated by 21st century names like Bryce, Jamari and Chasson. So far the most intriguing is Cleananthony . . .
Los Angeles Fire Department recruitment program rife with nepotism? Oh my, what a surprise! Will someone dare delve into LAPD and Sheriff Department hiring practices? Or why sons often follow fathers . . .
Reading about the impact Chinese tourists and home buyers are making in Southern California harkens back to the pre-bubble ’80s when Japan Japanese were buying up everything in sight and San Marino/Arcadia was all white . . .
Kimi Yoshino may not be a familiar name hereabouts but the veteran newsperson was recently named business editor of The Los Angeles Times. The former NoCal journalist had served as a reporter/editor for fourteen years. It’s quite an accomplishment, considering The L.A. Times once had a policy of not hiring persons of color, let alone females. For confirmation, ask CR2S . . .
I braved the elements – nightfall – and made a nocturnal tour of Li’l Tokio on a recent Saturday. Wowzus! First Street was jumping, sidewalks jammed. Same on Second and at Village Plaza. Couldn’t help but smile amidst the mass of humanity. Times have certainly changed . . .
W.T. Wimpy Hiroto can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org Opinions expressed in this column are not necessarily those of The Rafu Shimpo.