I Am Joe’s Blog:

October 16, 2005 • 6:51 PM

Pursuit by Happyness

One evening last week, Morgen and I went to a theater in downtown San Francisco—just a few blocks from where she works—to see a play featuring our friend Christopher in the role of (among other things) a homeless man. On our way, we walked down a block that had been closed to traffic and was full of moviemaking apparatus. Someone said they’d heard Will Smith was filming a movie there. Other than the barricades and a few glimpses of lights and cranes and so on, we didn’t see much, and I didn’t think anything of it. I’m not a particularly big Will Smith fan, and I’ve seen other movies being filmed here in town. Walked right past Robin Williams on the street one day, for example.

Then yesterday afternoon we noticed that all the billboards in our local BART station had been replaced with ads from ca. 1980. And in the evening, we saw tons of large white trucks unloading equipment, setting up tents and porta-potties, and generally taking over that block of our neighborhood. Today, we happened to pass through the station a couple of times, as the subway is our usual mode of transit around the city. And sure enough, the entire Glen Park station, just a few blocks from our home, had been converted into a movie set—with loads of cameras, lights, cables, and other gadgetry. It was quite fascinating (from a purely gadgety point of view, of course). The directors’ chairs were all silk-screened with the logo for The Pursuit of Happyness, coming next year to a theater near you. Will Smith stars as (among other things) a homeless man named—I’m not making this up—Christopher.

I might also mention, just as a passing observation, that the last name of Smith’s character in this movie is Gardner, and our two visits to the BART station today were on our way to and from watching The Constant Gardener.

In yet another random coincidence, today’s entry on my friend’s blog But She’s a Girl, titled “Imagining Nothing,” concerns both Bill Bryson (one of Morgen’s favorite authors) and the Big Bang, a topic I’ve been discussing a fair bit recently. And on our way down the street from our home this morning (right after reading that entry), we passed a garage sale where one of the featured items was a huge children’s book called Big Bang: The Story of the Universe.

These are the sorts of events that really shake my faith in the indeterminacy of life. I can only take so many coincidences without suspecting someone, or something, is behind them. In this case, I think it’s pretty clear what’s going on. I’m being pursued by Happyness. Or Will Smith is stalking me.