This morning I complained to my wife that we only had pulpy orange juice in the fridge. I don’t like bits of fruit in my juice any more than I like lumps of cocaine in my cola, I told her. She rudely offered me a lump on the back of the head in reply.
Arriving to work not half an hour later, the first ad that splashed up on my screen was for freshly squeezed, pulp-free, orange juice.
During a discussion with my first client the topic of wine came up; the client had spent a lovely weekend at the Hunter and I expressed my envy. By the time I got out of the meeting
I had an offer for discounted dozens of shiraz come through as a text on my phone. Feeling unsettled, I took a walk in the park at lunch and soon relaxed among the gardens. Back to nature, I thought. This is the stuff. When was the last time Dierdre and I went camping, I wondered, before remembering that we’d never been camping in 23 years of marriage. On the way back to the office I was accosted by a young man who shoved a pamphlet for a tent manufacturer in my hand and told me, rather vaguely, to “get into it”.
By now the tension was getting to me. The coincidences were adding up. I arrived at my desk in a bit of a state, the beginnings of a headache taking root behind my eyes. “Do you have any Panadol, Dixon?”
I yelped. It was Dora, the paraplanner, standing at my doorway. “Why are you asking that?” I stammered. “How did you know? I mean, who told you I have a headache?”
She looked at me askance. “No-one,” she said. “I’ve got a toothache. Never mind, I’ll ask someone else.”
Feeling thoroughly unnerved by now, I called my wife for reassurance. Cupping the phone with my hand and speaking low, I told her that I suspected someone was tracking my thoughts.
“Whatever do you mean,” she asked. “Why would anyone want to know your thoughts?”
“What?” I whispered. “I’ll have you know my thoughts are very interesting, which is probably why someone is trying to pilfer them.”
“Fine,” she replied. “As long as picking up your daughter from netball at 6:30 is one of those thoughts they can have the rest. And pick up some bread, will you?”
I switched on the radio to calm the anxiety Dierdre had scoffed at. A commercial for Bakers Delight accosted my eardrums; half price sourdough loaves from 2:30pm till close.
I massaged my temples and considered making a cup of tea. The ads switched to Liptons. Jumping in my car that afternoon, I resigned to ignore all coincidences.
Let them have my thoughts, and do with them what they will, I thought.
Pulling up the to the kerb at the netball courts, I beeped the horn impatiently. My daughter ran over.
“Dad, do you have to beep the horn like a lunatic? It’s embarrassing.”
“Sorry,” I said. “I like loud noises.”
“Pfft,” she replied. “I guess your headache has gone then.”