A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum

When you take public transportation to get to work, you tend to see the same people all the time. Maybe not every single day, because unlike most other transit systems, here in New York, during rush hour, the trains run every few minutes. So even if you leave your home at roughly the same time every day, you could very easily catch the train before or the train after your usual one, depending on the precise moment you arrive at the station. I see the same people over and over. I’ve never spoken with them, even though I know they exist and they know I exist, because this is New York and that’s just the way it is.

Every once in a while, I see this one guy who sings. And I mean LOUDLY. The entire station can hear him. He can even be heard down on the street (my station is elevated about 25 or 30 feet). I’m not familiar with the songs he sings, but I suspect they’re mostly Christian hymns (although, one time, I could swear he was singing an old Communist worker song).

So yesterday, I went upstairs to the station and there he was inside, just standing there singing his little heart out. As I approached the turnstiles, he stopped singing, but when I went through the turnstile, he picked up another tune and sang the first line or two. As I approached the door leading up to the platform, I looked at him. He looked at me and caught my eye, and it was just at this precise moment that he sang, “Emmanuel, Emmanuel.” I quickly turned away and went through the door (you don’t stare into the cracker barrel for too long, know what I mean?).

“A Winning Miss”

As I went up the stairs, I wondered what made him sing that word right at the very moment I looked at him. Did it mean something, or was it completely a coincidence? Was it a message or sign? If so, what the hell was it? I’m not very good at interpreting signs, mainly because I’m not sure I believe in them. Some people do. Some people read something into everything. But is the meaning really there, or are people just seeing what they want to see? Or is it both? As I’ve said in the past, I really, truly want to believe that there’s a purpose to the things that happen in my life, that shit doesn’t just happen randomly. Because if that were the case, everything would be about luck and no one wants to believe that they have no luck. That would suck. But I’m just not convinced that everything happens for a reason. I tend to believe that we just throw the dice and how it lands, it lands.

Yet, here was this total stranger, evidently living in his own little reality. He knows nothing about me, and I know nothing about him. He could have chosen to sing any song, he could have started singing it at any time, and he did not need to ever look me in the eye.

But he chose that song, began singing it at just the right time so that the word “Emmanuel” would coincide with my looking at him, and he did look back at me.

Furthermore, I was posting this blog while I was at work this morning. As I was reading through it and trying to decide which Christian song the man was singing that had the name Emmanuel in it (and, consequently, thinking about mentions of Emmanuel in the Bible and what the significance might be), my supervisor passed by my desk to go speak to a co-worker. As she passed by, she said to my co-worker, “Jane, Emmanuel called me…”

Talk about synchronicity.

Is this all coincidence? I mean, really? It’s not like Emmanuel is like John or Mary. What are the odds of these things happening all roundabout the same time? If it is coicidence, is there some meaning to this kind of coicidence or it is really, truly all random shit?

What does it all mean, damn it?!


7 thoughts on “A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum

  1. I wrote an entire book as proof that there are no coincidences (complete with a subway sequence btw), so — if I were you — I’d treat the dual mention of your name as a form of subtext and search for the meaning. If the subway singer is Jewish he might just be shouting out “God is with us” when saying Emmanuel. Interesting. (And, eerie.)

  2. well well….I just took a short break to read your blog while I am reading a book about the power of coincidence by Squire Rushnell “When God Winks at You.” Really. I’m in chapter two on hope & reassurance. That alone might be a clue to help you connect some dots. Maybe not today or tomorrow, but sometime soon, I believe 🙂

    1. so, while you were reading a book about coincidence, you stopped to read my blog about coincidence. To say that is coincidence would be an understatement. I’m sure there’s a word for what that is. 🙂

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