Friday, June 28, 2013

Why do things happen in threes? I don't have a clue. Of course, incidents don't always come in triplicate, but I'll bet if you start paying attention you'll find it occurs more often than you are aware of. Not just big things, like death, but small things, too.

My husband used to tease me about this one. I have a habit of sticking change into my pocket, intending to put it in my billfold later. In the autumn, when I start wearing coats and jackets I haven't gotten out of the closet since the spring, I inevitably find a bill or two tucked away. Find it in two garments? There'll always be a third to come with money hidden away. It's nice to find a little extra cash.

Here's an odd set of three that happened a couple of weeks ago. I have small tube lights beneath my kitchen cabinets. They have been there since I had my kitchen remodeled about five years ago, and one of them has remained on almost continuously since then, to give a little light in the kitchen at night. One evening it gave way and fell to the cabinet below, scattering tiny bits of white plastic all over the cabinet and floor.

A day or two later I was changing the sheets on my bed and decided it was time to wash the blanket. It was a king-sized maroon blanket, one of the kind as soft as velvet—some sort of fuzz on a mesh core. It had been showing a few signs of wear, but when it came out of the washer it had dissolved into piles of maroon lint.  I had cleaned up the white plastic bits in the kitchen only to have maroon fluff in the washer and on the floor with a trail out the back door.

A couple of days passed. I was cleaning out closets and dividing clothes and shoes into 'keep' and 'donate'. I came across a pair of shoes I hadn't worn in a couple of years. They had slipped to the back of the closet and I forgot about them. When I got dressed to go meet friends for lunch I thought I'd wear those shoes. They used to be favorites. I wore them back and forth around the house when I noticed the crumbly black stuff all over the floors. You guessed it. The foam soles on the shoes were falling apart as I walked, leaving a trail of black bits all over the house. Three things fell into tiny bits and made a mess. I'm glad that set is over!

The one that really puzzles me concerns the books I read. Now I must explain that I have books all over my house. My mother-in-law once told me if I got rid of all the books I'd have room to put things. What I want room for is books. They are in shelves, in piles, in boxes under the bed, in all sorts of places. My Kindle has seventeen pages of books I will eventually read. I buy them new and used. I buy them online, at yard sales, and at the Friends of the Library sales. Some are reference books, but most are fiction. I read several different genres. The books aren't particularly similar in nature to each other in any other way. BUT…

Often when I read one book, then a second, I notice the second one has one or more noticeable likenesses to the first in some way. It may be the heroine has the same job in both books. It may be their dogs have the same name. Maybe both stories start when the dog runs away. They may make the same references to songs or books. Perhaps there is a flood or a wind storm. If that happens in two books, it'll happen in the third. I could be blindfolded and pick up a book out of a pile, and it will have several similarities to the first two. Different authors, different genres, it doesn't matter. There will be several distinct likenesses to each other that have nothing to do with my choosing those books. They don't become apparent until I read them.

The most recent time that happened, the evolving plots had the story take place in the forests of the Pacific Northwest. That's a nice place, I'm sure, but I didn't pick out a coming-of-age story, a romance, and a mystery because they all happened in the same area. The blurbs I read before buying the books didn't indicate the location, only the plot. Next time this happens I make note of the names of the books and pass them along to you.

Next time—another set of three deaths. So sad.

Do you have any stories to tell? Start watching for sets of three in your life and tell us about them.