Pattern Recognition

Apologies for what is quite possibly the longest blog post ever.

Something very strange happened to me in the airport bar.  I was desperate to get a quick drink in and a few minutes relaxing before flying to England.   I told one guy he couldn’t sit down next to me as I didn’t want anyone to talk to me.  But then I accidentally initiated a conversation with the next guy that asked if he could sit there.  His name is Chris (which I would remember as it is my dad’s name) and he is English.

Conversation cascaded immediately and within minutes (and for no reason that I understand or have ever done before) I had told him about the loss of the baby.  My babies.  He looked more crushed and less embarrassed than most people.  He shared that he and his wife had gone through EXACTLY the same thing (the same number of IUIs, the same number of IVFs, the heart-shaped uterus , and he was on the way to England to see HIS Mum.  He had just started seeing a therapist.  He said he had been twice.  I think I have seen mine 4 times.  More and more coincidences poured out.  He asked me which seat I was in: 6B.  He was in 7B.  Phew!  It would have been just too weird if we had been sitting next to each other.  His wife called and we left the bar separately.  When I boarded the plane, he was having difficulties with his seat.  There was already someone in it.  The airline were unable to sort out the seat difficulties and asked him if he would mind… sitting next to me!


Chris had just started a tumultuous affair with a beautiful Asian woman.  We talked of her and my friend Helen (who is incredibly hot and has a hot English boyfriend).  In fact we talked a lot of the night. We talked and drank and tried to sleep.  Sleep is very elusive so we talked about photography and I showed him a couple of camera apps.  He chose a crappy one (I can’t even remember the name of the filter) to take a photo of one of our cocktails.

The series of coincidence don’t stop there.  I won’t even bother to list them all.  He had been to Thailand with an ex because they had already bought and paid for the trip.  I went with my ex-husband after we decided to separate as we had bought and paid for the trip. We both stayed a block from Soi Cowboy. Neither of us could remember the name of the hotel, so we couldn’t check if it was the same one.  We were both laughing at the random series of events and fucking with it just to see when it would stop.  We tried guessing each other’s star signs, birthdays, middle names.  We got them right!  We talked about writing.  He doesn’t write.  He plays the piano.  He asked me what my pseudonym would be.  I said no idea and randomly picked the name of a famous person.  Anaïs Nin.  Why not?  I don’t remember a lot about her except that I think she was French and she wrote erotica.  Nin sort of sounded like Nina is my misfiring-synapses brain,  I expect.

He had insomnia too.  He slept a few hours.  I think I got a couple at some point, too.  Finally.  Only took god-knows how many drinks, an ambien and a valium.  I am surprised I remembered anything when I woke up as Ambien and alcohol together normally make me black out.  To tease me, he tested me on birthday dates etc. when I woke up.

As we landed, he told me to listen to the words to a song he likes.  Fun.  Some Nights.

Here they are:

There are some nights I hold on to every note I ever wrote

Some nights, I say “fuck it all” and stare at the calendar

Waiting for catastrophes, imagine when they scare me

Into changing whatever it is I am changing into…

And you have every right to be scared.

Cos there are some nights I hold you close, pushing you to hold me

Or begging you to lock me up, never let me see the world

Some nights, I live in horror of people on the radio

Tea parties and Twitter, I’ve never been so bitter

And you, why you wanna stay?

Oh my God! Have you listened to me lately?

Lately, I’ve been going crazy…

And you, why you wanna stay?

Oh my God! Have you listened to me lately?

Lately, I’ve been fucking crazy…

There are some nights I wait for someone to save us

But I never look inward, try not to look upward

And some nights I pray a sign is gonna come to me

But usually, I’m just trying to get some sleep…

Some nights!

And I think, even if I never see him again, Chris is what I needed right then.  Someone who could make me believe in a second chance.  In video game language, he was a “health pack”.  It was level one.  Just the intro to teach me how game life works. I didn’t know what to expect but I recognized a health pack when I saw one.  I’m a gamer.  A nascent game designer with 20 years in the industry. I know this will alienate me to many of you, but this is too much for coincidence.  This is intelligent design.

I know that many will think this is fake pattern recognition.  That is what Trevor would call it.  I would have, too, before I lost this particular baby.  Human beings want to see patterns where none exist.  We are programmed to try and make sense out of the world.  Our brains see patterns where there aren’t any.  It is because we want to.  Well, that’s all fine and dandy but sometimes maybe there really are patterns.  We don’t have this whole universe figured out yet.   When I was young, I used to call it Synchronicity   I thought I made this word up – but as I grew up I found out it existed (damn you, Carl Jung!)  I wanted to know what fake pattern recognition was called.  I had to look it up.  It is called Apophenia.

My pet theory is that time doesn’t exist.  Time is a construct that our brains came up with so we could make sense of this crazy world because our brains aren’t big enough to comprehend the enormity of a timeless universe.

I was trying to tell Chris about it and he said that is what I should call my book.  “Time does not exist.”  I don’t want to write a book.  I want to sleep.


Chris and I both check, and we DID stay at the same hotel in Bangkok.  The Rembrandt on Sukhumvit Road.  Oh, and Christina bought him the male version of the only perfume. I have ever worn. (Which is also the same and only perfume Trevor’s ex wears.)  And sure, these are coincidences… but so many of them?  I think I am developing my crazy theory even more.  I have started to think that not only does time and space not exist lineally, but maybe people don’t either.  Maybe we are all particles of the same thing, and you just collide with people using similar particles to you when you really need to.   (I have a friend who says we are all made of star dust!)

When I was very young, maybe 10, I  noticed for the first time that I can become disconnected with the world.  I used to describe it as if there were many parallel universes and only one “Nina” consciousness – and that something important was happening in another one of them.  An old boyfriend contacted me recently to remind me that I once told him that I sometimes felt I was watching my life from the outside and that he felt like that right now.   Don’t lock me up yet.  I don’t spend a lot of time thinking about this stuff.  I am just spitballing 🙂 .

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s