Monday: 27.March.2006

Synchronicity, Serendipity & Seemingly Chance Encounters

Ever have one of those days filled with strange, unexplainable coincidences? That was yesterday. I'm still trying to understand what such occurrences might mean.

After church, Miss Julie drove her convertible bug cross town to her folk's place (my first time there). Our bikes spilled out the back seat, draped over the reclining convertible top. Sun shining. Warm day.

After changing out of our church duds, into bike-riding duds, we happened to meet a man at her folks place who had stopped by to handle some business for them.

Briefly we introduced ourselves before heading out on a ride down to the Balboa peninsula in Newport Beach (my first bike ride there).

En route we stopped at a bike shop to put more air in the tires .. when I started getting hungry. So Julie led the way to El Ranchito, a Mexican restaurant on the peninsula. (She rides fast.) Place was packed. Musta been 70 or 80 people there. Some waiting for a table.

Hostess get us and seats us at a table .. right beside the guy we met earlier at her folk's place. Our tiny tables sit mere inches from each other. Of course we discuss the chance encounter, the proximity of the seating arrangements, given so many table at the restaurant, and so many restaurants on the peninsula. They ordered another round of margaritas as we left to continue our journey south.


Shortly thereafter, we're cruising down a back alley and a car turns in front of us, half-block ahead. No other cars driving in this alley. "The ex has a car just like that," I say. "Same color and everything, in fact." It's driving slowly. We follow for a few blocks.

Julie says, "Wouldn't that be weird if that were her."
"She doesn't live anywhere near here," I replied. "That would be bizarre."

The ex has never met Miss Julie. It's strange dealing with two women who are so dramatically different. One is so pleasant, accommodating, understanding. The other, uh .. not so much. In my mind, they represent such opposite ends of the spectrum .. like East meeting West.

So I speed up a little .. to satisfy my curiosity. (We are nowhere near home.) Cruising up alongside, I look in the back seat and .. I see the little guy. He's strapped into his car seat, sees me and smiles. I smile at him, speed up adjacent to the driver's windows. She turns her head and makes eye contact.

She comes to a stop in the middle of the alley and rolls down her window. Seconds later, Miss Julie pulls up on her beach cruiser. Everybody looks at one another.

I make the obvious introductions before proceeding to play with the little guy in the back seat. The girls begin to acquaint themselves with each other. East meets West .. and the world doesn't end .. like I thought it would. They actually seem to get along well, the conversation remarkably civil. Still, it was pretty weird for me.

After 10 mins or so, we say our goodbyes. Everybody drives off. "That was very weird," I say. I was totally unprepared. We park the bikes at a park nearby and walk out on the jetty, where we rock-hop and discuss the second chance encounter. Lots of people there are fishing.

In college, I had a class in Statistics. Now, I don't know what the odds are of running into the ex like that, but I know it's 1 in a very BIG number .. like winning the lottery. Ten seconds sooner or later and we would've missed her .. or if I hadn't sped up to see who was driving.

On the way back from our jaunt out onto the jetty, we ran into them again, the ex pushing the little guy in a stroller. "Can you believe this?" I say, noticing them walking toward us. We drive up and spend another 10 minutes together. The girls chat some more while I play with the little guy. As we leave again, the ex says, "It was very nice to meet you."

"She seems very nice," Julie said as we rode off .. (for the second time), adding, "The *idea* of seeing your ex with someone new is scarier than actually seeing them together. She definitely maintained her dignity." My head was spinning.

The day continues to bring more strange coincidences, too many to detail here (.. which I might recount later). After each one, Julie reminds me, "The day's not over yet."

Some people call such coincidences synchronicity. Others call them serendipity. On the long ride back, we discussed what it means when strange encounters occur so close together.

A few ideas came up:

1) Seems to be a spiritual element to these unexplainable coincidences. This web site, for example, calls synchronicity a wink from the cosmos .. and that's a good explanation of how it feels. I mean, it feels like unseen forces are pulling strings and watching.

2) When one door closes, another opens .. but not until the old one closes. Have to first close the old door before the new one is opened in your life. (Doors in my life have recently closed.)

3) Love seems to be a catalyst for such these seemingly unexplainable experiences. It adds an element of magic. Know what I mean?

Weird stuff. Not sure what it means. Maybe it's like Maria said when I called to tell her what happened (since she knows both girls): "It's obvious they were meant to meet."

For more on this topic, here's a Google search pre-configured for the query: synchronicity serendipity chance encounters

Posted by Rad at March 27, 2006 03:21 PM


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