I find myself thinking a lot about routines. One of my most common routines is the morning dog walk with Pickles the Dog. I notice that after awhile, at certain times and certain places, you see certain things. I began to notice many of the cars and drivers I see every day are the same as I saw the day before. And eventually it dawned on me that I've become part of their routine. Many days they will see me with this goofy dog in the same general area at the same general time.
And that's just one of my routines. I don't really like routines, but I don't understand how a person can live without them.
There's a couple of people I see every now and then who drive around in a pick-up truck looking for discarded metal by the side of the road. Stuff people put out for garbage pick up. I assume they'll sell it for scrap somewhere, and I often wondered how much money a person can make doing that. My suspicion is somewhere between next to nothing and very little, but I don't know. The point is, their routine is completely different than mine, yet every now and then, the routines intersect.
Many, many years ago, shortly after I got out of the Army, I found myself living in Catonsville, MD - a suburb of Baltimore, and started a job located in Springfield, VA, on the other side of Washington, DC. That, dear readers, is a long commute. Anyway, after a few weeks I began to notice things - on long drive, almost all with 6 to 8 lanes of traffic, I began to see the routines.
For example, shortly after I crossed into Virginia, and was heading down a hill with the Woodrow Wilson Bridge starting to become a reality in my mind, I frequently passed a large white box truck. Its back door was raised and inside were 4 or 5 people sitting on the floor against the walls. I would pass this truck several times a week in the same general area, until I switched from day shift to evening shift.
On the return trip, as I was on I-95 north heading into Howard County, MD, I'd see this: an old beat up dark colored car spewing smoke out of it's tail pipe, chugging along in the slow lane, the driver's window down (I'm assuming he had no A/C, cause it was quite hot), the driver smoking a pipe, with a bumper sticker that proudly proclaimed "Free At Last". I saw this vehicle frequently when I was on the day shift, and always in the same area.
I noticed these two events because they were unusual, and I noticed them so often I began to look for them.
There's no telling how much I didn't notice. There's no telling how much was a one time event - someone traveling from Montreal to Miami who just happened to pass by along the way.
Routines intersect. It happens so often it can't be random.