47. Beyond time and space
As I continued to try and grasp the realm of what was taking place, I began to wonder if previous events that had puzzled me were of the same supernatural nature. At the time I did not take too much notice, but what was shown on the TV News on Thursday 23/04/99 was out of the ordinary. Firstly, it was reported that for an unexplained reason, it was not the day before Good Friday, a record number of deaths occurred on our State’s roads, seven in total. The second item I took note of highlighted the ‘appalling’ practice of drivers not stopping at stop signs.
The timing of the News items made me take notice. I had my own theory on stop signs which I had published on my website. Here is the controversial article I wrote around 1994/5 casting doubts about the practicality of stop signs in today’s traffic:
Let's give up GIVE WAY signs!
In South Australia instructors are also examiners. One of the hardest things I find is, to fail an overseas licence conversion test. There is no distinction between a new driver and someone who has safely driven for 20 years in London, Lebanon or Liechtenstein. A common fault is rolling very slowly through a STOP sign. The authorities give us no leniency; just a slow roll over the line and the examining instructor must mark it as an instant fail.
The odd customer is adamant that they’d stopped at the stop sign, when in fact the wheels were rotating until a clear view was obtained. When it was clear, the applicants see no point in stopping but roll on.
After convincing one young man that he had not completely stopped, he announced: ‘You mean, stop, stop? Another commented: ‘OK then, I stop dead’. A middle aged learner from South Africa enlightened me: Over there everyone must stop for 15 seconds. (I find that hard to believe). The most intelligent response was: ‘So, all four wheels must stop’?
But is slow rolling motion really such a big deal? I have a theory.
Let’s turn the calendar back 50 years or so. Motor cars were not built with synchronized first gear. Mechanically it was impossible to roll very slowly and accelerate away. You were unable to change down to first gear while still moving. Approaching a blind corner meant, stopping the vehicle (all four wheels stop stop dead) then engaging first gear and moving off.
Before signs were introduced, intersections were mainly uncontrolled. As traffic gradually increased, give way and stop signs were introduced. On a blind corner, where a slow speed was called for, a STOP was placed, indicating to drivers, that first gear needed to be engaged, which only was possible after stopping. Corners that were open and could be negotiated faster (in second gear) a GIVE WAY sufficed.
Technology has progressed, thank goodness. Only vintage cars are still without first gear synchronized. Automatic cars are even more convenient, no gear changing at all. Unfortunately, the system of give way/stop signs is very hard to change.
To simplify road rules over a period, why not phase out give ways signs and only use Stop Signs? Psychologically they have a greater effect to slow down motorists. To take the thought even further, the stop signs could be colour coded, like traffic lights, indicating how ‘blind’ a particular corner is: Green visibility reasonable, amber visibility limited and red best ‘obey the stop sign’!
I think most motorists would be intelligent enough to drive through at a safe speed. Don’t we have to do this now at T-junctions, give-ways signs, roundabouts etc? To get fined for barely rolling through a stop sign or failing a driving test only produces an angry motorist not necessarily a safer one.
One instructor from New South Wales urged me to not stir up trouble. My theory may open a can of worms. He didn’t know I was an expert in opening cans of worms. To me the issue of slowly crawling through a stop sign was so minute, it was hardly worth worrying about. Yet, on the very day seven people died, we hear about such a trivial non-issue on TV. Would it not have been more beneficial for the public to explore and highlight the causes of the seven road deaths so everyone will learn from it?
Five days after seeing this on TV I found myself in a locked ward at the Mental Institution. Had the theophany already started way back then?
Common sense and intelligent argument must be applied in formulating rules. If those in charge of making laws were to use these two factors, citizens would gladly obey rules and regulations. Another typical example is a 25 km/h road works restriction. After driving past the actual workmen the road may be clear without any obstruction or sign of road works for 300 m or more. The workers placing the ‘End Road Works’ and 60 km/h signs in the morning, may not move it all day, despite their field of work moving away. I find it frustrating to maintain such a slow speed for such a long distance when I am driving away from danger.
I am sure the co-incidence between my “Stop Sign” article, which I linked to the item on the TV News about stop signs, and the record number of road deaths in one day, contributed to my breakdown. My mind knew that something was taking place and could not cope with it. Circumstances may even have developed much earlier than this, but remained unnoticed. God has already lived tomorrow. I don’t understand how HE does it, but I believe in HIS sovereign power.
The coming overseas trip was meant to be a deserved break from it all. Yet, God does obviously not take holidays. On the morning of departure I wrote the addresses of my friends we were to visit in an address book. My mind interpreted them to mean something: ‘Hohenstein Strasse’, translates ‘high rock road’. The number was 28. Later my suspicion was confirmed, we were to stay in the flat on the 2nd floor; number 228 again. Another close, long term friend (I knew him since I was 14 years old) lived in the Black Forest in Martin-Luther-Strasse 15.
Every one knows the reformer Martin Luther. But Sophie and her younger brother Hans Scholl were heroes in my eyes. They also called for reforms to the political situation in Nazi Germany in 1943. At Universities the students organized the copying and distribution of literature against the leaders of the Third Reich. My heroes were both executed after being betrayed by one of the professors. My mother lives in a street named after them, Geschwister-Scholl-Strasse 47.
At times I wished God had created us with a switch to turn-off the brain from thinking. It looked as if my holidays were going to be interesting, unless I learned to ‘not think and link’.
After the emotional ‘good-bye’s’ at Adelaide Airport we passed through customs. In passing an officer asked me, if I was willing to answer a few questions for a survey. Of course I said yes. I answered a few questions. After giving him my age he said: “OK that is age group five”. Jon, my 13-year old son travelling with me, mentioned, after we had walked on to another room, that the man’s name was John Fischer. Now I was alert. I walked back a few steps to the other room just to see the name badge for myself. Jon was correct; the officer’s name was John Fischer.
All our bookings were made by the travel agent. Flight SQ 230, the one we were catching, left at 1.05 pm for Singapore. There we met up with my 27-year-old son Ben, a schoolteacher, who had flown directly from Sydney. Everything went according to plan. I could hardly believe that I was travelling with my youngest and oldest son overseas.
I happened to sit next to a young Italian girl. She was returning after an extensive visit to Adelaide. I remember her tears as she told me that she would not see the boy she had met, for some months. As she opened her wallet to show me his photo I read her name on a plastic card: Lucia Monticelli. My mind played its little letter scrambling game and wondered, was there more to it all?
Across the isle of the plane just after boarding I noticed a young, slim business man sitting with a green apple in his hand. Why does someone hold a green apple on an airplane just after boarding without eating it? I made a point of talking to the well dressed man at Changi Airport, Singapore. He seemed friendly and pleased that we talked. We exchanged business cards and promised to keep in touch.
The boys and I walked around Singapore’s Changi Airport waiting for the flight to Europe. In the distance I heard an orchestra play quietly in the background. As we moved closer I recognized the tune: “On the street where you live…” If Ben knew my thoughts…? During the whole trip I had to guard my tongue, much like at home with Isobel. It was frustrating.
Ben at one stage had stipulated that he would only travel with me if I took my tablets again. He feared I may be going high while overseas and becoming stranded, facing a huge medical bill. I was outraged when he first suggested the idea, since I had not been taking any tablets for months. He never mentioned the subject again during the whole five weeks.
It was a proud moment when we boarded the flight to Frankfurt at Singapore. At one stage I had considered also taking 19 year-old Tim on the trip. We decided against it since he had a steady job and was earning good wages. Three visitors would be enough for my friends to host while in Germany. Isobel would also have been by herself at home.
In Frankfurt we changed planes for a flight to Rome. For almost the same price we were able to arrange a visit to the ‘eternal city’, making Frankfurt our stopover. Boarding the Lufthansa flight to Rome I found it strange that a man was handing out papers and shouting: “Paper, paper!” If I was to buy a paper, then I would understand that he would shout ‘paper’, but papers are free on airline flights. I had a choice between 2 papers. I picked up a Frankfurter Allgemeine; I liked the first three letters.
Without trying, as I read, figures started jumping off the page. Did I indeed have a strange illness where figures literally hit you between the eyes? 3 x 5 pupils/teachers was one phrase I took note of. …from 1976-1991… in my book that is 15 years. The article told of a town called Senftenberg. The authorities wanted to change their name. I decoded the name. With a little scramble the name I took as that of a Mustard (=Senf) Factory in my hometown Esslingen.
On page 75 of the same paper I read an article that really stirred me. A man sold a house, but withheld vital information about previous flooding. The new owner was badly flooded in the Dresden flood. When the dispute went to court the judge decided in favour of the person who had told lies. I could not believe it.
I carried a small writing pad with me. Despite being on holidays I had to write to the paper to tell them about the interesting name of the town that wanted it changed. I further pointed out that the judge, in the other article, was not fair to ‘reward’ someone who was telling lies. Lying should never be awarded as right in a court case.
In Italy, where I had bought an English language newspaper, I couldn’t help myself decoding items from that newspaper. We had bought the European Edition of the Washington Post. Again I mailed a hand written note, this time to an address in France, and included my business card. As in previous unusual actions, I obeyed my inner voice against all logic. If it didn’t make any sense to anybody, if indeed it was my strange illness controlling my thoughts again, I still had lost only a postage stamp. To the journalist in France, I wrote a PS, saying, “if none of this makes any sense, please throw this note in the bin”.
The numbers co-incidences surfaced time after time during the whole trip. The camera I took on this holiday was an ancient Olympus. We bought it years earlier at a Garage Sale for 20 dollars. It was almost brand new and identical to the camera Isobel and I bought before our honeymoon in 1971. I especially noticed the model number of the camera, because I had to fill in a stolen-items form at the police station at Rome Termini Railway Station. While taking down a fellow traveller’s luggage from the overhead rack, my large back pack had been stolen. Thankfully no valuable items were in it. My camera was an Olympus Trip 35! Will this numbers game ever stop, I questioned?
I made another very odd observation during the police interview at the Railway police station. As a female officer sat at the desk taking down my details, a male policeman walked in unobtrusively and quietly placed a very small chocolate bar in front the female in the middle of the desk. I could clearly see the brand name ‘Kinder’ (children). When the police officer finished her report she said to me: “Please sign all copies”. I had misunderstood her accent as saying: “Would you like a coffee?”
Outside the railway station was a large poster. I could not read the Italian text, only the two large figures 5 and 1. Various signs sprung up everywhere: ‘50 % off’ or ‘3 for 5 Euro’ etc. Figures speak a universal language. My two sons must have sensed my heightened state of excitement. Children, especially teenagers, know how to ensure we are keeping both feet on the ground. Being as strong willed as I, my sons and I got into a fair few heated discussions.
An old woman was begging at Piazza Popolo. I had such pity I gave her one Euro, two Australian dollars almost. I found it hard to walk past any beggar and not give anything. Ben and Jon thought I was crazy giving money away like that.
The next day my compassion toward an old lady would cost me more than a dollar.
Autobiography - Dieter Fischer
1. More in number 2. A sound mind 3. Now I'm found 4. Candle and the Wind
5. Realm of Nature 6. All in his Hand 7. The Wonder of it All 8. To Think God loves