Thursday, July 16, 2009

1979, and a Word on Visual Association

I’ve written before about finding patterns in events. Sometimes the patterns seem to be meaningful, or are meaningful in retrospect; other times they’re not. Meaningful patterns are probably better defined as “synchronicities”, the Jungian term that is defined as “meaningful coincidences.”

In the last couple of months I’ve had a string of coincidences centered around the year 1979. I was 7 years old in 1979, and hadn’t yet had the first “squelching” of my imagination and spirit. (I like to think I’ve regained most of it). For whatever reason, I had a vivid recollection of a particular day. I was at my best friend Cassie’s house. At that time she lived next door to me. Her mother had been an art major in college, and also had impeccable and eclectic taste. Their house and yard was amazing—rooms with oriental furniture, plush velvet sofas, a Zen garden out back, and regular gardens with exotic flowers. A wooden bridge stood between their back patio and their yard. I had a pretty happy childhood playing in that house and that yard.

In my recollection, it was an October day, and Cassie, myself, and her sister were in the basement of the house. The basement had the old-style wood paneling, and there was a wicker daybed and an oversized leather chair in front of a TV. A sectioned-off laundry area was on the other side, and on the wall behind the TV area was a tremendous psychedelic mural painted by her mother, that glowed under black lights. The three of us were watching a Halloween special on the TV. I recalled that it had something to do with the Legend of Sleepy Hollow, and offered an adaptation of the John Bellairs’ novel, “A House With a Clock in its Walls”. I remember being very engrossed in the program, and actually got the Bellairs book from the library later that month after watching it.

Why I recalled this particular day, I have no idea. I did go as far as to try to research the name of the TV program. I discovered that it was part of a program that aired on October 1, 1979 entitled, “Once Upon a Midnight Scary”, and featured Vincent Price as the host. (I’d forgotten that detail). Amazingly, someone did have a brand-new VHS copy of the program available via Amazon. It wasn’t terribly expensive, so I bought it. It was actually a bit of a disappointment—what I found really engrossing as a 7 year old I found to be a poorly-acted piece of crap as a 37 year old. Vincent Price was fine, but the actual adaptations of the stories were dreadfully overacted, or just plain wrong. I had a real distaste for the Bellairs piece—that is a really EXCELLENT children’s/young adult book, but the adaptation was hardly like the book at all. In fact, save the character names, it was nothing like the book at all.

That was the start of the 1979 business. The next thing I knew, references to the year 1979 were everywhere I looked, culminating with my trip to Liverpool, where I learned that the film “Awaydays” was set in Northern England in 1979. In yet another one of my blog postings, I mentioned a vivid memory I had of coming home at sunset and hearing strange music that I couldn’t place. I recalled that this also happened in 1979.

Whether this is a meaningful coincidence or not, I don’t know. I know that it was basically a happy year for me. I’ll have to keep you posted as to whether or not it turns out to have a retrospective meaning.

On another brief note—I was watching the new Ghost Hunters International episode last night, and I’m really liking the show a lot. They have a new investigator, a friend of Robb’s called Ashley. I don’t know that I have a strong opinion of her yet—she seems pretty grounded, if not a bit stiff, though I’m sure that’s probably a matter of adjustment to TV. However, my first instinct about her was negative, and I questioned myself as to why. I realized that she looks a lot like someone that I dislike. I’m sure she doesn’t know the person I dislike, or have any relationship to them at all. We have lots of “doppelgangers” out there—I am frequently told that someone has seen someone who looks EXACTLY like me in various places that I’ve never been. But it did make me wonder if this is why I like certain investigators and not others. It may have nothing to do with them or their presence/personality at all. And if I do it, I imagine others do it too. Visual association probably has a lot to do with our immediate judgments of people. There’s probably a study about it somewhere—I’ll be sure to share it if I can find it.

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