Date: Fri, 17 Feb 2006 08:30:07 -0800 (PST)
From: "Max Action" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
I was waiting to respond to this until I had some time
to type that "felt right" - which is normally my
code for "I am going to let this rot in my Inbox and
add it to the festering pile of unreplied-to emails in
my inbox that serve only to fill me with guilt."
But instead I got on the computer today and it was time
to write. So hello.
I am interested in the topic of ... and I hate to say
this, more than you can ever know - especially after
putting "The Celestine Prophecy" on my eternal Black
List of Books that Prove Humanity is Retarded ...
That was the first time I've dared type the word, all
smacking of self-fulfilling pattern-seeking, an
irrational foundation unpon which all manner of
delusional edifices are constructed. Synchronicity.
Anwyay, the guy who lives in my basement has this
older girlfriend, a sort of hippie chick who went to
Berkeley, now she's finishing up med school. The other
day, after discussing the Teapot - we'll get to that
soon, I'm working on it - and she looks me in the eye
and simply says: "Yes, I've noticed a swirl of
synchronicity around you."
Huh. A Swirl of Synchronicity. S.O.S.
She said this after hearing about the Teapot. And
that's what I'm writing to you about today. This is
the first time I've tried putting any of this down
into words, so it should be interesting.
Some context on the way to the point:
So as you know I'm the guy who has styled one part of
his outward persona into "Max Action," Urban Explorer.
And it is built on a lifetime of loving caves,
tunnels, rooftops, basements - spaces between, spaces
forgotten, spaces forbidden. Since I can remember
anything, it's been a love - and may or may not serve
as a metaphor for my mental activities and preferences
and motivations as well, but that's another ramble -
I have lived in the house I now live in for 8 years -
and have history with it going back to before I was
born. The house itself has been around since 1911.
After renting it for 8 years, I bought the house
earlier this month.
A day after I signed the paperwork, I felt compelled
to explore the crawlspace - a space under the stairs
that go down to the basement. There's a board covering
up the entrance, with no handle, and you have to pull
the board out.
Nothing too hard to deal with - but - and to me, this
is one of the Weird Things involved - in 8 years of
living here, 8 years of Action Squadding - I have
never, ever been into the crawlspace, in my own house.
I've never looked into it. It's been under my nose all
this time, and I've never had the curiosity, even
once, to pull it open and see what is in there.
But now, suddenly, it was time. So I got the super
suction-cup window-worker tool I liberated from Foshay
Tower when I worked downtown, and used it to pull the
board out of its frame. Inside, it was about what I'd
expected - plastic over dirt floor, a million cobwebs,
two dead mice, 3 old shoes, 1 rusted can.
I had purchased a dust mask just for this occasion, so
I strapped it on, grabbed a flashlight, and crawled
And I felt something under the plastic, embedded in
With a little effort, I was able to get my arm under
the plastic, get hold of the mysterious buried object,
and pull it out into the light.
And, of course, it was the Teapot - white-crusted
aluminum, handle long since rotted away, and looking
at it, I felt something in brain shift, only a slight
shift, but deep.
A shift with far flung implications, easy to make but
perhaps not possible to ever shift back from.
But more context is required.
My previous email to you came at an interesting time -
post-Point Reyes, but pre Teapot. Wait - I didn't
talk about that yet - anyway, it was a day in Point
Reyes park in CA that really knocked me for a
existential loop, leaving me reeling about pleasantly,
explicitly believing in magic for 3 days. And that,
I did mention.
So, as is obvious from that email, I was in a strange
period of openness after this. The magical thinking
was lingering on long after the drug had faded. I was
on a roll of following some strange intuition, a voice
that pulled me where it seemed I needed to go. I felt
in control of my life in a way I never had before - by
letting go of reason and deliberation, silencing the
mental chatter, and just - doing.
And it worked. My house transformed from an
intractably cluttered, dark, dusty space to a open,
light, clean space almost effortlessly, and in doing
so seemed to mirror the transformations going on
elsewhere in my mind and life. I won't go too much
into that, but let's say it was a fertile time for
change - and I'd even say positive change. Good
Somewhere in that period, I went to Unique Thrift
By the end of the trip through the store, the cart was
filled with stuff, as is usual - I put in anything I
like on the way through, and then jettison that which
does not still appeal before checking out.
As my 3 friends and I sorted through the cart, we set
up a nice display of the collection we'd deliberately
amassed of "inanimate objects represented with faces"
on a shelf, and determined what of the rest of it we
actually wanted to buy. Many things were discarded,
but I could not bring myself to get rid of one
specific item, yet found myself struggling aloud to
justify why I felt so compelled to buy it.
But I was on this post-Point Reyes magical thinking
kick, and I believed in letting myself be guided - by
instinct, by magic, by whatever the hell it is.
"I don't know - there's just something satisfying
about it - I like the materials, the construction -
the connotations are somehow pleasant. I don't know. I
just feel like I want this in my house. I don't drink
tea much now, but maybe I'll start."
Yes, of course the object was a teapot.
I'd seen it from halfway across the store on a top
shelf, and been drawn to it, even though I don't
usually shop from the housewares section, and have
never considered myself to be the kind of person who
owns - let alone one who buys - a teapot. The tea I
have drank has been the instant kind - and this was an
old-school teapot, made for loose tea leaves.
So I bought it, still trying to explain why to my
friends and, mainly, to myself.
This was one to three days before my expedition into
I took the teapot home, and tried to make sense of it
- brewed some instant tea packs in it.
The tea wasn't bad, but it wasn't anything special,
A couple days later, I bought my house.
That very night, I decided to explore the crawlspace.
And I found a second teapot in there - buried beneath
this house that I have known since I was a baby, in
which I have lived for the last 8 years.
And the teapot I found buried under my house was
identical to the teapot I'd brought home from the
store a few days earlier.
The same teapot.
Sure, there were some differences, but not enough. The
store teapot still had a handle. The house teapot
still had the little ball on a chain on top. The only
real difference was the stamped brand on the bottom of
each teapot. Different-named companies, sure - but
using the same mold, the same design, to make the same
Later, a friend would take the bottom half of the tea
leaf container inside of the store teapot, and screw
it into the top half of the house teapot. It fit
The two teapots now sit together in my living room,
their spouts together over a green stone I took home
from Point Reyes - some kind of altar to magic, to
I don't pretend to know what they "mean." I attach no
theories, no belief systems, no things I want to
I don't need to know.
But I'm glad I have them - to remind me.
There are things strange and beautiful in this world,
mysterious things that cannot be held in any
worldview, comprehended by any human mind.
Once, this would have bothered me.
Now, it makes me happy.