Friday, June 12, 2009

Coincidence v. Cause-And-Effect

The never ending struggle between coincidence and cause and effect is a never ending fascination for me.

There are the shear coincidences that draw one’s attention, like the fact that Einstein was born on March 14th, 3/14. Get it? I didn’t get it right away either, but that’s Phi! 3.1415926 etc ad nauseum. Shear coincidence.

The other day my cleaning lady was here and when she left I turned on my TV and discovered that my cable was “searching for signal.” The cable getting dizzy is not so rare an occurrence as I would prefer, but I was immediately suspicious. Coincidence? I didn’t think so, unsophisticated cleaning ladies the world over have a tendency to get too rough with the settings on devices, and wires mean nothing to them. I gave the wiring a cursory check, it all looked fine to me, and I tried all of the controls on the cable box, nothing untoward. There was nothing that I wanted to watch until a basketball playoff game about four hours later, so I just laid low and read.

At some point, during a shallow nap, I decided that it must be cause and effect. I thought about the connections, and what needed rechecking. I searched around the back of the devices, tracing each wire from one end to the other, I felt like a Chinese acrobat twisted around behind the TV, nothing could be moved much because, well, it’s all connected with wires. I gave up and thought about calling the cable company, then gave up that idea right away. First, there’s the language barrier, and then there’s the fact that nobody over there probably knows anything or really cares, and so what if your building is out, get over it.

So later on I was watching the end of a Godzilla movie on a VCD, no sound because those wires are screwed up too and I don’t have the heart to ask a young person to come over and try to get it going for me. I noticed an empty jack hanging over to the side, and upon closer inspection I found a short piece of cable coming out of the wall nearby. When I connected the two, my TV was back in action.

Maybe all of this seems uninteresting to my gentle readers, but such is the drama of the official version of my life in Thailand.

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