Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Indiana Jones leaves his jacket on the plane

I have just strapped myself into my seat for my first flight home from Seattle on Southwest when a flight attendant calls for our attention.
    "Is anyone missing a brown leather jacket. Looks like it's worth a few hundred dollars. We'll start the bidding at five bucks."
    This inspires chuckles but no claimant.
    "Let me read the label and see if that rings a bell," the flight attendant carries on. "Raiders by Peter Botwright."
     I know that name. I sit very still in my seat, wondering whether he is on a plane with me, again. Nobody claims the jacket. I relax a little, but my mind is back in a scene from ten years ago, when I met Indiana Jones on a plane.
     The details are almost incredibly specific, and personal.
     Back then, I was playing with an idea for a thriller that would involve time travel and jumping between parallel universes. A key plot line would unfold in Churchill's time, and would involve a group of magicians with access to him. The whole thing would be fast-paced and humorous, with Indiana Jones touches.
    Before I set off for the airport one morning, I put a question to the world. I wrote it down like this: "Should I write a thriller with Indiana Jones elements, involving Churchill?"
    My game was to receive anything unusual the world gave me, during my trip, as a commentary on my theme.
    My first flight was uneventful. But when I located the departure gate for my connecting flight, reality tilted. There he was, at the counter. Indiana Jones, in full rig - hat and jacket and Sam Browne belt and boots. This was really too much.  
    I was almost ready to pretend I had not seen him - until he took the seat next to me on board the plane. I put down the book I was reading, a memoir by one of Churchill's bodyguards.
   "Do you have the whip?" I asked Indiana Jones.
   "I've got it at home," he responded. "Listen, this is the real thing. It's authentic."
   "What do you mean, authentic?"

   "This is the genuine-article Indiana Jones outfit, as worn in Raiders. It was made by Peter Botwright. He creates costumes for the movies. He's a former bodyguard of Winston Churchill. Here's his card."
     Not the same former Churchill bodyguard who wrote the book I was reading. But another rhyme,
    Did I get a response to the question I had put to the world? You bet. What astonished me was how specific the response proved to be. I got the feeling that a production crew behind the scenes had crafted and custom-tailored this special moment with Indiana Jones, dressed by Churchill's bodyguard, on the plane.
    Did I follow the message and write that reality-bending thriller? Not yet, though I do have some drafts and files.
    I am not feeling pressure about this today, since Indiana Jones was not actually on my flight last night. Still, he left a marker. I was here.

After recent grueling travels, I was not looking for new adventures in yesterday's journey. Instead, I received winks and hints and subtle magic. A priest who took the seat next to me gave me his drink vouchers. Truly, life is a dream.

Indiana Jones jacket created by Peter Botwright's Wested Leather Company


Barbara Butler McCoy said...

These affirmations from the Dreaming are so inspiring. Recently, for me, I woke from a dream that called to mind a Bette Midler song. Then, when I stopped in a restaurant with my husband, a restaurant new to us, what did I see on the wall? Artwork depicting the Divine Miss M herself. I couldn't help but smile.

Anonymous said...

Wow! Great timing! This morning's news (physical reality) had a story about how Harrison Ford crash-landed his plane on a golf course yesterday. Beautiful synchronicity!

If it were my dream I would wonder if I should be careful of flying on small planes (because I tend to worry first and talk myself out of worry later.) I have a feeling you are about the opposite of this.

The original Indiana Jones story was, too, as amazing as the sidewalk oracle type incident here. The Bette Midler story too.

Billie Jo said...

I agree! The timing on this one is uncanny! How wonderful.

I myself had a smaller echo this week. A friend came over to hang out and we watched an old film given to me years ago by a friend's wife who died of breast cancer (I never met her in person, but we corresponded by email when she was living). The film was "Bells Are Ringing," starring Judy Holiday and Dean Martin. Despite having it in my possession for ten years, I had never gotten around to watching it until the other night. Then the next day, I was at an audition, and the director came into the recording booth and said to me and the other girl "You guys know who Judy Holiday is? Can you do the read for this character a little more like that?"

I guess I watched the film just in time. :)

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