No Such Thing As “Coincidence”

When a person speaks of “coincidence,” does he really mean that there might be a connection to the experience but he (or she) doesn’t have enough information to make the mental connections necessary to see the big picture?

That’s what I think of when someone mentions an event that was “coincidental.”  See, I have never believed in coincidence.

A dictionary defines “coincidence” as:

noun; a striking occurrence of two or more events at one time apparently by mere chance: Our meeting in Venice was pure coincidence.

Does chance truly have anything to do with it?  Didn’t we, as persons exhibiting free will, make a decision – be it conscious or subconscious – to be in a certain place at a certain time in order to witness the confluence of events?  We may not have known that those specific events would converge when and where they did, but we have the information necessary to understand that there is an event taking place, and its seemingly “random” connection to us.  So in that respect, is it truly random?

Today I “officed” at one of my favorite wi-fi locations in Boulder with a panoramic view of the sunrise on the mountains (stunning!).  I’m meeting a friend for lunch later, so decided it would be easiest if I was in the vicinity.  Perhaps I should preface this anecdote…

Several weeks ago, I was writing in another favorite internet-cafe near my home.  It was cold, wet, and snowy beyond the fogged-over windows, but the fireplace was going in the cafe and it was quite cozy.   The place isn’t huge, and the owner is a good friend, so I’m always conscious of how much space I’m taking up while I’m there.  With all the tables occupied, an older couple ordered lunch and settled into an uncomfortable easy chair and ottoman next to my table (which could’ve easily seated 4 people). So I stood and offered to switch with them, as it was just as easy for me to write with my laptop on the ottoman than it would be for them to precariously balance their plates and beverages on the same surfaces.  I ended up insisting and they relented and took over the table.  I didn’t do it out of any sort of want for praise or thanks, but because that’s how I was raised.  Be polite to those who deserve it.

As I went up to the counter later to pay for my own lunch, I learned that the couple had purchased a gift card for me and left it with the owner at the counter.  They’d paid for my lunch for the next ten visits easily.  I didn’t require that to give up my table…but it was nice.  It wasn’t a coincidence.

Today, I noticed another older couple setting up several tables away.  I had commandeered a 4-seater booth as I arrived at 6 a.m. and didn’t feel the place would fill up on a weekday morning.  Nevertheless, I offered up my booth to the other couple, as it appeared that they were going to read the newspaper and the table they’d chosen wasn’t well lit.  The gentlemen appeared to be in his sixties, wearing a leather hat that fit his Buffalo Bill appearance.  His partner was stylish, with a silvered pageboy hairstyle and designer eyeglasses.

The man came over and introduced himself.  I tend to be anti-social when writing, with my earplugs firmly in place and music blaring into my head.  This morning, though, I had not yet gotten to the writing portion of my day and we struck up a conversation.  Come to find out, the gentleman, Colin, was a physicist who’d been asked by George Lucas once upon a time to start a little project he was considering called “Industrial Light & Magic.”  Instead, Colin agreed to design the CGI for all the ships used in the original Star Wars films.  He handed off the ILM project to someone else, making an artistic decision that he needed to make at the time.  He related this without even a hint of regret or bitterness.  Then his partner came over, Sierra, and we chatted for nearly a half an hour, and I knew immediately that the three of us were kindred spirits.

We exchanged contact information after a couple hours, with the knowledge, at least on my part, that we would certainly be in touch.

Now I could write the whole experience off to some mystical theory called “coincidence,” or I could see that these people were in this location at this time by their own choices, as was I, and our paths – which, come to find out, had crossed several times before in different places – intersected in a mutually beneficial way.  I don’t, for one second, believe that it was anything but design on a level that I have yet to understand.  The key was that I was paying enough attention to recognize that the potential for something wonderful to come of this meeting.

While Sierra worked on her computer, Colin and I held a fascinating conversation that I know was merely the tip of the iceberg of his astonishing knowledge.  There were several topics that we seemed both passionate about, and the energy crackled in the air around us.

I look forward to spending time with them, chatting and exploring the minds we possess.

2 thoughts on “No Such Thing As “Coincidence”

  1. I don’t see this so much as a coincidence as it is a reward for being nice. If you are a good person, then good will come to you. I see this story as the good that was due to you.

  2. Tricia – I understand what you’re saying…but didn’t want to create a sense of entitlement in my head for being “human” or “kind.” However, I do agree that it was a wonderful gesture on the first party’s part to purchase the gift card, and definitely beneficial on the part of the second party. Wow…that sounded kinda legal, din’t it?

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