What a Coinkydink

I didn’t do anything out of my comfort zone this week but I did have a pretty cool weekend so I’m writing about it. Not exactly following the rules, but they’re my rules, so there.

You know how every once in a while something happens that’s coincidental in a freaky way – not like your everyday coincidence, but something really remarkable? I can only think of a few in my life. And the funny thing is that this week when I had already starting to write this coincidence post, I happened upon this story about coincidences.

I have been listening to old broadcasts of This American Life recently, exactly in order so I don’t miss anything good. The other day I needed something to listen to while I was cooking so I clicked on the very next story and there it was – a whole hour of crazy coincidences. I didn’t even go looking for it or anything. And as Sarah Koenig referred to a study which found that people tend to think coincidences that happen to them are far more meaningful than those that happen to others, I had to agree. Because while some of the coincidences in the story were so crazy they sounded like something out of a Korean drama or John Cusack movie, I’m pretty sure mine are way better than some of the others on the show.

My first remarkable coincidence happened when we were living in New York and my husband traveled out of state for a job interview. I was doing my daily clicks on The Hunger Site (visit it! – it’s a free and easy way to something good) and I noticed an ad for bear claw salad tongs. I thought they looked cool and Father’s Day was coming up, so I ordered a set as a gift for my husband. A few days later, when he got home from his trip, my husband pulled out some souvenirs he had bought, including some bear claw salad tongs just for me. Dun dun duuun…

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The next coincidence happened when we were living in Ohio. I was teaching a new piano student and when the lesson was over his mother left the magazine she had been reading, explaining that she had finished it already and didn’t need it anymore. When I first looked at it, I flipped through quickly and decided it was not my kind of magazine since all the ads were for high-end children’s clothes. I almost tossed it in the recycling box immediately, but later when I was bored I looked through it more carefully. Then I noticed a story about They Might Be Giants and looked more closely when I noticed the pictures were from a kids’ concert we had gone to in Cleveland, then I looked even more closely and saw that my boys and I were in a few of the pictures. Pretty trippy, huh? (And I could even show you the pictures if I hadn’t put the magazine in such a safe, impossible-to-find place.)

And the third crazy coincidence:

Feb. 20, 1993

After four months of seeing each other in music theory class followed by two months of more seriously eyeing each other in rehearsals, we finally dared to have a conversation backstage at a Wind Symphony concert. He invited me to go with him to a party where we talked for hours and when it was time for me to go home, he said he’d be working at the music library the next day and hinted that he wouldn’t mind at all if I stopped by for a visit. So the next day, Saturday, I suddenly really needed to get a book out of my locker in the music building.

Because I didn’t want to drive in a snowstorm, I decided to ride the bus in to the University. The storm was so bad that the bus got stuck trying to turn at the corner of 9th South and 11th East. I didn’t want to sit around and wait for a replacement bus and I somehow imagined I was closer to school than I really was, so I just got out and walked. In a blizzard. Uphill. By the time I got there, my coat and pants were soaked and I’m sure I looked like a wet dog when I showed up at the music library.

We sat and talked for several hours (long enough for me to dry off) and he asked if I’d like to go with him to a concert that night, “But you’ll have to drive since I don’t have a car.” The concert featured the American Piano Duo (Jeffrey Shumway and Del Parkinson) performing at the Assembly Hall at Temple Square in downtown Salt Lake City. He knew Del Parkinson pretty well and wanted a chance to see him again. I don’t remember everything on the program, but I do remember that they played Gershwin, and I do know that after that night we were inseparable (until we broke up, but that’s a different story).

Feb. 20, 2015

Valentine’s Day always seems like a hassle so we usually skip it and celebrate the anniversary of our first date instead. Since it fell on a Friday this year, I looked for a good concert or play for us to see in Salt Lake. And that’s when I found this:

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The American Piano Duo performing at the Assembly Hall on February 20? Now there’s a coincidence for you. We were pretty psyched to recreate our first date on the 22nd anniversary of our first date, and while we were at it, we decided to recreate one of our most favorite dates ever by reserving a table at The Copper Onion for dinner after the concert.

We never would have guessed it back then, but my husband now works in the same department as Jeff Shumway. They see each other at school all the time, so he told him all about our first date and that we’d be coming to see their performance.

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Even though I was forced to give a lot of withering stares to some ill-mannered teenagers in the audience near us, the concert was still very enjoyable. And they played Gershwin! Not the same piece, but a really cool arrangement of “I’ve Got Rhythm”. And when we visited with the performers afterwards, they both seemed genuinely excited that they played a part in getting us together and that we got to celebrate by hearing them again 22 years later. We made plans to meet up again in another 20 years, even if they have to use canes to get onstage.

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And then when we ate at The Copper Onion, we were coincidentally seated at the same table as the last time we ate there a few years ago. And we enjoyed ourselves just as much as we did then. (No coincidence there – The Copper Onion knows how to do beef. And pretty much everything else.) It was a perfect evening.

I am so happy I stumbled upon this weekend’s concert and I am even happier he took me to the original performance so long ago, although I guess technically I took him…in my Stunning Brown Corolla. Happy Dativersary, Jerm! You are my favorite.

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