Saturday, February 13, 2016


I spend so much time alone driving in my car that I believe I have examined my life from every angle at least ten times over. Much of the inspiration for my poetry occurs when I observe something in passing, or when my mind wanders toward a different view point regarding something I may have relentlessly turned in my mind for years/hundreds of miles. I can often find a better way to think and feel toward someone I have had a dispute or misunderstanding with. Occasionally I reach the inevitable conclusion that I am a total asshole. Most often I find it to be that the other person is an exceedingly outrageous and egregious asshole. (I am simply sharing a few of the outcomes of my vehicular musings here.)

From the driver's seat I have witnessed amazing weather events or other natural spectacles, some of which I have either written about or posted photos here. I had never seen a fogbow nor even knew such a phenomenon existed until I witnessed it first hand one brilliantly lit winter morning travelling north on Vera Road. I photographed the largest flock of migrating geese I have even seen, happened upon because I chose to drive home a different way that evening. It was mere chance that I was at the right place and right time to witness both amazing events. What are the laws of probability that govern such moments in any one's life? I think about such things driving.

So, the idea of probability leads to the evening I came to halt at a major Topeka intersection due to a red light. I noticed two identical cars side by side in front of me. I had to time to examine the cars in every detail. They were both white Hondas, apparently the exact same year and model. The only differences were the dealer's identification on the rear trunk. I remember thinking to myself, what are the odds that I would be stopped behind two absolutely identical cars in a small city like Topeka? I thought the odds would be good that I would stop behind two very similar cars but significantly longer odds to stop behind cars exact in every observable detail, sold by dealers in two different states.

I likely would have forgotten about this small coincidence by the time I got home that evening but about one mile later, I came to a stop at another intersection behind two identical black cars. Not only were the black cars also identical in every single observable detail, they were the mirror images of the two white cars I had just noticed a few traffic stops ago. What would the odds be of that happening, I wondered? What are the probabilities of two identical cars being at the same stop light, side by side? Probably not astronomically high. But what are the odds I would observe four identical cars, two white and two black, on that day, at that time, in Topeka, Kansas? If that could happen, does that mean I have a good chance to win the big lottery?

The extent of my probability education arrived and departed in one of the interminable math classes I suffered through in high school. Remember the old white socks/black socks in a drawer lesson? Yeah, me neither.

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