More Late-Night Butterfly Effect Thoughts

A few days ago, I got a speeding ticket, and ever since, I’ve been observing its ripple effect. Here is one of those ripples.

Tonight I was driving down from Indy, taking 465. I passed someone on the highway, and a short time later, they passed me. On another night, this might have stoked my competitiveness, leading me to retake the lead. But because of the recent ticket, I have been driving more cautiously, so I allowed them to remain ahead, but I took note of the license plate number. Before the numbers were the letters were YLL. Like it was short for “you’ll”, As in, “you’ll remember this license plate”. And so I did. They soon rushed ahead, and I lost sight of the car.

Several miles later, when I pulled off onto my exit, I discovered I was behind the very same car. YLL from the license plate confirmed it.

After the exit, I saw YLL take the same turn that I take. What a funny coincidence, I thought. I thought the same as YLL turned into my apartment complex. I followed them down the row of apartments, curious to see where they would stop.

As it turned out, they parked in front of my building. In the exact spot I would have taken. If I had decided not to let them pass. If I had not gotten the speeding ticket. If I had chosen the other of the two roads.

If any of that had happened, I would have arrived first, taken the spot, trundled off to bed, and never been the wiser. But I hadn’t, and so I was privy to this odd bit of coincidence…that one of my three neighbors had been coming down the same stretch of highway at the exact same time that I was.

I wouldn’t have noticed that YLL stayed behind in the car after parking. It was too dark to make out the driver without being creepy, so I couldn’t identify him or her, but I saw that the headlights were on, and heard music playing through the stereo.

The lights are still on, five minutes later, as I start to write this. The music has stopped, though. Is YLL waiting for someone? Maybe YLL is not actually my neighbor, but a friend picking someone up.

I checked again, and YLL is gone now. I wonder briefly if YLL is the supplier of the pot that my downstairs neighbors have made into the permanent aroma of our apartment building.

This ripple seems to be returning to the placidity of spacetime. The only change that persists is that my car is now one space to the left, and slightly out of the parking lines (YLL is not a precise parker). And of course, that I am thinking about this, and writing about it.

I have an eerie feeling that I have seen my quantum ghost. That YLL was another version of me, the one who got no parking ticket, who drove more speedily, who took the nearest parking space. And now that ghost has vanished as the possibilities resolve themselves. Most likely nothing will come of it, but still…once again, I am aware. Once again, I watch. And I wonder where YLL is going next…

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