Recently, I began talking about freaky occurrences and the idea that everything happens for a reason (or not, depending on your point of view). Sometimes things happen that are so freaky that even the most stalwart person has to wonder, what does it mean?
For instance, in THIS BLOG , I talked about an incident that was so coincidental that I really began thinking seriously about this whole life-with-purpose thing. (It also brings to mind an episode of Seinfeld in which Elaine and a writer from Eastern Europe get into an argument about coincidences. Elaine says that there are varying degrees of coincidence; the writer says, “There are no small coincidences or big coincidences, only coincidences.”)
Well, this past week, it happened again.
A few years back, I worked at a travel magazine. The managing editor went out on maternity leave shortly after I was hired, so the director hired a temp (let’s call her Mary) to fill her position until she returned. But she never returned. Mary was there a few months and then a permanent managing editor was hired (Mary didn’t want the position). I did not keep in touch with Mary.
Several months down the road, I was laid off in a massive downsizing. A couple of months into my unemployment, I got an email from Mary asking me if would like to attend an off-Broadway show with her. See, she was a theatre reviewer on the side and always got free tickets to shows. I don’t know why she thought of me, but she did and I gladly accompanied her.
That was in 2009. I never saw her or heard from her again after that, but every now and then, I think of her, for one reason or another (not least of which being that the show we saw was horrible and you just can’t help forgetting train wrecks like that), but it’s not like she’s in my mind all the time.
A couple of weeks ago, Mary entered my mind—I don’t know why—but I couldn’t think of her name. The next day, I got a spam email. I looked at the person who “sent” it and I couldn’t believe my eyes. It was from Mary. Someone obviously had hijacked her email account and I guess I was still in her address book.
The real crazy here is that I had just thought about her the night before.
But it gets better.
I was on my lunch break one day last week and was running some errands along one of the major avenues near where I work. On my way back to the office, a woman walked past me, and damn if it wasn’t Mary! I hadn’t seen or heard from this woman since 2009. Now I thought about her, got an email from her account, and walked past her on the street all within a matter of days. What the hell?!
Now, if there was a purpose to me running into her, I’ll never know. At first, I really wasn’t really sure it was her. As she walked past me, I thought, “Is that Mary? Can it be?” Then I turned and watched her continue to walk and I kept wondering. By the time I was pretty sure it was her, she’d walked far up ahead (she’s a tall woman). I had to get back to work and I was loaded down with heavy grocery bags, so I couldn’t run after her. I’d missed my opportunity to connect with her, if that was in fact the purpose of all this. All I can say is that it really freaked me out for a while.
I don’t know if this was purposeful or just a big coincidence (after this, I have to side with Elaine Benis on the matter of coincidences). It’s just another episode in the ongoing saga.
What do you think?