Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Coincidences

I love coincidences. They make me wonder if there are higher forces playing around with us out there. Of course many coincidences only exist if you're keenly aware.

For example: In a college accounting class many years ago my teacher, Dr. Gum, reached up towards the blackboard with a piece of chalk. The chalk snapped in two, with one piece flying through the air, landing on the chalk rail and sliding towards the end of the rail, stopping just as it reached the end. Dr. Gum turned towards the classroom and said, "I bet if I couldn't do that again in a million years if I tried!"

Now flash forward 2 years. I have another accounting class with Dr. Gum. I'm struggling to stay awake as he casually reaches up towards the blackboard. Suddenly the chalk snaps in half--one half lands on the chalk rail, slides towards the end and stops. He turns to us and says, "I bet if I couldn't do that again in a million years if I tried!" I nearly jump out of my seat to yell, "But you did the exact same thing two years ago!" Instead I sat quietly, realizing I was the only one in the room who knew this. Even Dr. Gum didn't recall this repeat in his life.

Another little coincidence I always liked occurred while I was hiking through the Swiss Alps. I came across an American girl on the path and we got to talking. She told me she was from Reading, PA, the same town as my college roommate. I asked if she knew him. Her eyes lit up with shock as she took a step back. "I dreamed about him last night!" she said.

Last year while visiting friends in London, a woman from work spotted me in front of Big Ben. She was on her honeymoon and saw me across the street. I was gone by the time she could cross the street.

But my favorite has to be this sequence of events: I was working at a temp job in mid-town Manhattan. Sera and I lived in NJ, and I would drive to Hoboken and take the PATH train into the city. When I got to work I realized I didn't have my car keys. I began to panic, and called Sera at work. She was working as a lawyer for a firm in NJ. I was hoping she could ride on over to the garage in Hoboken and check if I left my keys in the car. Her secretary informed me that Sera was at a meeting out of town and couldn't be reached. I didn't know what to do, and just sat at my desk in panic. No more than five minutes passed after I called Sera's office when suddenly Sera walks in the door. In the 6 weeks I had been at this job she had never come to my office. Turns out her out of town meeting was in Manhattan--3 blocks from my job.
"I knew you worked in this area and I thought I'd stop by," she said, not knowing I just called her office.
I explained my situation to her.
"What garage are you parked at?" she asked.
"In Hoboken. The 2nd one on Hudson St."
"Oh, I'm also parked there. What level are you on?"
"The third."
"Me, too!"
Turns out she was parked just across from my car. When she got to the garage she saw my keys lying under a book on the passenger seat, and called to let me know.

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