Sometime around 2007, I started noticing these 11′s all over the place. What? You say. That’s what I said. It was a very gradual thing, but maybe for instance I’d get in the car and drive somewhere and the DJ on the radio would announce, “It’s currently 11:11 and we’re breaking to go on remote to such and such location…” He introduces the fun event. Maybe a grand opening for a new garden center where they’re giving away hot dogs and coffee and offering a big “Jumpy Castle” for the kids. It’s the kind of thing that tempts you to swing by even though there’s no way you need another coffee and a hot dog after some sardines and toast doesn’t seem right. I skipped on that notion and stopped at the thrift instead.
It seems at this point the universe really wants to feed me despite any sardines and toast. The thrift is decorated with balloons and there is a table laid out with decorated cakes and a coffee pot. I’m greeted with a “welcome” and informed they are celebrating their 11th anniversary. I’m more enthusiastic about the idea I can get 30% off my purchases than I am about the cake and coffee, but I happily accept the goodies and peruse the children’s books. I leave with “The Harvest Queen” and enter back outside upon the spring day wondering why I bought an autumn book at this time of year and why I persist in collecting children’s books despite the fact my kids are grown. I’m too busy enjoying the sunshine and the cozy downtown street of Olds, Alberta. I’m thinking about how lucky I am to live near a community like this.
The kind of status quo for those times was marked by a consistent pace of chores interrupted by the occasional outing. It still wasn’t marked consciously by the observance of The Elevens. As I’ve mentioned, there’s no one single identifiable moment that I can remember “before” it really dawned on me. It’s a bit irksome to this day. Kind of like having the words of a song on the tip of your tongue, but you can’t quite remember. Logically it seems there should be one time that I can remember that I truly took notice, but I can’t. The best I can do is return to these “example days” or “random days”. I don’t know what else to call them.
They were strings of time before “the before” until I got to after “the after” which I can identify. That happened in Prague. That was like the dot on the exclamation mark— the quintessential moment that had me awestruck. If I had any remaining residue of thinking that it may have been a mere coincidental type of phenomenon, it was gone. I’ll share the Prague experience a little later, but first it’s apropos to share some of the “lead ups”.
I was working as a volunteer in the hospital and tinkering with screenwriting here and there. One typical day has me taking a trip in to do a home-care visit and stop-off to pick up some salad greens. I find myself waiting in a line-up at the grocery store and one of the staff directs me to come over to a different till where there is no line and I notice she’s leading me to checkout number 11. “Really!” I’m thinking. The customer service person is leading me over and the girl at #11 is waving “Come on over”. The two 1′s all lit up, the smiles, the direction, the waving. It doesn’t get any better than this. The distant beeping sound at the checkouts, the mundane of everyday exchanges becomes something more— something else, something closer to what is a little more real. A little more right.
And then the really strange. She rings up my order and behold, the total comes to the precise amount of 11 dollars.
Now let’s go to what I’ll call, The Movie Moment.
One evening, I had an amusing circumstance occur where I went to the movies and tried to order a hot dog at the concessions. Tried is the key word here. The young fellow serving me has lovely blue eyes that sparkle with a certain kind of light and yet, he looks at me very apologetically and declares it will be about a half an hour. Now although this has nothing to do with “eleven” as far as I know, it was one of those moments happening during this time-scape I’ll call it that really had me feeling like I was the one in a movie and here I was “at” a movie.
I think the young man thought I was going to react with anger, but it was so absurd I had to smile and repeat it to him, “A half an hour?” “Yes,” he replied now realizing my amusement. A lot happened in the next moment. Like time had collapsed in upon itself. I think I considered some random fact that I was unaware of that made the whole affair of serving a hot dog more complex than previously thought.
Maybe the wieners had to revolve around on their little wire skewers in the magic hot dog machine for so many rotations before being technically safe to serve and maybe the machine had to pre-heat for a certain length of time and maybe the young fellow had just came on shift and the last server had failed to load the machine and maybe, too, the buns were scheduled for delivery, but they were delayed. Or maybe it was the cheese. Hadn’t I ordered a cheese dog? Maybe the cheese was delayed. In any case, it’s amazing how many random thoughts you can pack inside a single moment, but it seems like they rolled on out.
This beautiful moment expanded where I looked into his blue eyes— eyes that said, I really do want to serve you some food, but the hot dog or cheese dog, couldn’t be achieved that fast and I recognized that he and I were having a moment of connection that no one else in the crowd of the movie theatre lobby was experiencing.
That movie moment, I will not have to search for. It was like a meeting of minds. Like the Spock mind meld, but a friendly one. “That’s OK,” I said. “I’ll have some fries.” This “movie moment” lacking any 11 was maybe some kind of trigger that had me thinking such things like, “They wanna give me hot dogs and coffee for free and I just finished toast and sardines, but then when I want to pay for a lilly old hot dog… This is hilarious. And maybe, just maybe I thought that this seemingly random collection of circumstances weren’t so random after all. I was extremely grateful for the fries and departed with a happy feeling that I can’t explain.
On another random day, sometime after the hot dog incident, I was cleaning out my emails and there were 111 in my inbox. That’s not that many in my inbox. I tend to like to save them up for some reason. A little while after, I needed to get with the program and get the chores done and I was baking cookies for The Reading Program at the school. (It was my answer to collecting children’s books).
I did my thing, moving about the house, multi-tasking. You know how the clocks in your house are all a little bit different— a few minutes off. (Well, they are unless you are extremely precise) So here I am on said random day. I might be putting cookies in to bake and it’s 8:11. Then I go downstairs to fold laundry and a little later I tidy the spare bedroom and the digital clock reads 8:11 ten minutes later. Now maybe something is starting to break through my subconscious, but what. The day continues. A few trays of cookies later. The Reading Program. Some dishes. The typical day-to-day chores continue.
The next day I decide to Google 11:11 and I discover I’m not alone. A whole bunch of people it appears are having the same experience and they are all asking the same thing. What does it mean? There are, many different answers. Some people think it’s a “wake up” call for something, but they don’t know what. A little later, another random day, the phone rings. I’m called by a friend who asks if I can take her in to get her prescription filled. I drop everything and head over to her place. I enter into her kitchen where she is haphazardly trying to gather up her purse and a crocheting project she likes to take with her when she’s waiting for a doctor’s appointment. I busy myself while she’s getting her things together and wash some of the dishes for her. It’s at this moment that I notice the clock on her coffee pot is reading 11:11. Is this enough to wake me up? Now it’s like the numbers are following me around.
Several other “encounters” happened before I mentioned it to my husband. I don’t think he thought too much about it at first until it started happening to us at the same time.
Different DJ, different time, but he proclaims on the radio, “It’s currently eleven-eleven. We are monitoring a slow down in traffic on the… ” Instinctively, we turned to each other like we were reading each other’s mind. As if to say, “Alright. Maybe a little coincidence.” And then we’d stop off to pick up a burger and fries and the cashier asks my husband very politely, “Anything else, Sir?” To which he replies, “No that’s it”. And she proclaims, “Alright that’ll be $11.11. Needless to say we gave each other another look. I don’t know where it is right now, but I know at the time I had saved the receipt.
The strangest thing of all was when we arrived in Prague. Here we had traveled all the way over the ocean, been on a cruise, been on planes, rented a car and were driving to our Hotel room and we turned on three different streets and witness 3 – #11 busses in the span of a couple of minutes. I’m thankful that my husband was witnessing this Twilight Zone phenomenon together with me because I don’t think I would have believed my eyes if I was alone. “Did you see that?!” I said. And he’s not an over-reactor, but this was making him wonder, too.
These kinds of things continued. We’d get placed in #11 rooms. I thought he was playing a prank on me. “Did you ask for Room #11?” I asked him. “No.” He replied. I looked hard at him thinking I might be able to see a trickster lurking. “No, really,” he said again. And soon the numbers would start shifting. Not just 11s, but repeating numbers. 222, 333, 444, 555 etc…
I see today that those numbers were messages. I can’t explain how it could have happened, but then again I can’t explain anything much anyway. What I do know is that I’ve come to learn that the letter, Kaph, כ is the 11th letter of the Hebrew alphabet and has a value of 20. Yes. 2020 would be Kaph-Kaph. And Kaph-Kaph would be a significant “wake-up” call. Twenty-twenty vision is a very good thing to have and is something we need moving forward.
In 2020 we are witnessing the re-structuring of the world. We have arrived. We are still safe, but we need to recognize the signs around us and pay attention to the things that really matter. If we do, we will have unbelievable moments like we never imagined.