Have you ever read a novel and stopped somewhere thinking, yeah right? That little something that hasn’t quite held water, jerking you rudely out of the narrative perhaps?
I was reading a story the other day when a synchronous moment it described did just that. It brought me back to reality like a twanging elastic band. I grumbled at what I felt was the author’s too vivid imagination and went off to do some shopping. And that’s where my real life story begins to stretch belief.
I was away from home a great deal longer than I’d anticipated. On the way back, feeling extremely thirsty, I was lamenting that I’d forgotten to bring any water with me, so I pulled into a service station to get fuel, intending to buy some eau en bouteille at the same time.
No luck. The servo’s EFTPOS system had imploded, leaving the shop hamstrung. They were unable to charge for
fuel or goods, so they had switched off the pumps, closed the doors, and put the kettle on. By this time I was very dry and exceedingly grumpy, asking the guy on the forecourt—only slightly sarcastically—if the EFTPOS being down had affected the air pump too.
I thought that I could at least check the tyre pressures and put some meaning into my visit before collapsing to the concrete with extreme dehydration. With any luck the EFTPOS would remain out-of-order long enough for the paramedics to be called, otherwise my rapidly desiccating body would be bounced around the pumps by a mad rush of vehicles when the place reopened.
The guy’s radiant, toothy smile made me feel instantly guilty and I decided to put a cap on my churlishness right then and there. My resolution was so strong that when I drove over to the air hose and saw it almost completely blocked by a campervan, I shrugged philosophically and took some time to manoeuvre around and squizzle the car as close to the pump as I could.
I’d just turned the engine off when a young man jumped from the campervan and walked toward me carrying two full two litre bottles of mineral water, another one half-full (please note the use of half-full rather than half-empty here), and a large bottle of fizzy drink.
His accent was probably Austrian.
“So, we are flying to Sydney in two hours and cannot carry this on the plane. Do you like it?”
I took the gifts and thanked him. As I guzzled back some of the water, my mind went back to that small fictional synchronicity I’d been reading. Now, if I included that water-manifesting story in a novel, I bet you wouldn’t believe it. And yet it happened.