Just before I left California to spend a disastrous year in Portland, I was at home in my house in Oakland eating PITA BREAD. I was tearing off little pieces and dipping it in hummus. At some point I tore off a piece that resembled the state of California. I noted its significance at the time even though I did not yet understand what exactly it signified. Anyway it looked like this:

Months later—after I had spent all my money moving to Portland, and thus had sealed my fate, making escape impossible—I was walking through Belmont when I saw a gum wrapper on the sidewalk. It was shaped liked California. It looked like this:

Right then and there, in the aftermath of days of rain and no place to go, I regarded the gum wrapper and remembered the pita bread. I groaned. I thought: California! Why did I leave you???

Does the universe talk to us? Were I fatalistic, I guess I might think that the pita bread meant “don’t leave California”, while the gum wrapper meant “go back to California.” I don’t really think that. Though I have for many years publicly (and embarrassingly) shared my paranoid delusions, hallucinations, waking nightmares, and beliefs that someone or something is watching and / or dreaming us, I don’t actually think an unseen cosmic hand was communicating anything to me, or guiding me, or whatever. I mean . . . it is kinda weird! And I did end up back in California anyway . . . so, hell, mission accomplished, California-shaped inanimate objects!!!!