I am a magnet for the uncanny, although I wish it would impact my life in other ways, such as winning the lottery. If I was to think of specific instances where my life seemed to defy the odds of actuality, I could probably create a small list. Certain experiences stand out more than others, of course. One such being years ago when I ran into my ex and his new girlfriend in the supermarket, when I foolishly opted to leave my apartment in the rain, after cleaning all day. Needless to say, I’m sure I made quite a lasting impression. At the time, I thought to myself, “What are the odds?” Of all the supermarkets in town, of all of the days, of all the exact times to crave brownies badly enough to leave my apartment looking the way I did.
When I moved back to New York, Brad and I drove my car; my parents drove the moving truck. Brad and I were almost out of town when my parents called to let us know they were stopping for bagels, the bagel store being next to my apartment complex. We turned the car around, entered the bagel store, just in time to see same ex with girlfriend (by then fiancee’) on line. It was almost as if the scenario had been prearranged, just to see one last time the life I knew I was leaving behind, moving ahead from. Again, what were the odds?
I met a guy last month, on Ash Wednesday in a random church on Park Avenue. I was sick, looking possibly as awful as could be, and I chose a seat next to him. The Mass took place on a warm day (well, warm for NYC) and they had the doors open. Not only was the lunchtime Mass exceedingly crowded, but the doors being open did nothing to aid in hearing the words of the Mass. Eventually, I turned to him to see if he could hear anything, or if I was simply deaf that day. He couldn’t either. The entire Mass was an entertaining circus; people bumrushed the altar to get their ashes and Communion, there was no music, and you couldn’t hear a word they said. We started talking, and exchanged information for a future-to-be-determined-date…possibly for lunch.
While we have talked online for the past handful of weeks, we have never met up. Our schedules have constantly clashed, I went on vacation, he works long hours.
I exited my train this morning in Penn Station, and headed to Starbucks to get my coffee. Yes, I’m extremely ritualistic. Now as a journalist by nature, I wish I had a statistic to back this next point up. I’m going to have to guess “millions” of people walk through Penn Station each day. You rarely see the same faces twice (except for the select homeless who are always in the same spot at the same time of day, every day). In walking to Starbucks, I looked up and there he was, walking in the opposite direction. We exchanged surprised glances, he ended up treating me to coffee, and we walked to work together.
What are the odds?
“Serendipity. It’s such a nice sounding word for what it means: a fortunate accident.”