coincidence

“Coincidence is the language of the stars. For something to happen, so many forces have to be put in action.” –Paulo Coelho

our lady
One of my favorite episodes of “This American Life” is number 489, “No Coincidence, No Story!” In the episode, they dive into why people put so much stock into coincidences, how it makes them feel a part of something cosmic and special. If you’ve ever experienced it, you know it can feel so out there. Anyway, they took the title from an old Chinese saying that says if there isn’t a coincidence, it can’t be a good story. I’m banking on that being true for this post!

When I was 21, I went dancing on the seedy side of the magical kingdom in Anaheim, California, and I lost my driver’s license. I tried to find it, but nothing was doing. I tend to block out trips to the DMV, so I got a new one and forgot about it.

Fast forward to a few years later, it’s October 2012, and I’m invited to a costume party in Long Beach by one of my favorite humans, Francesca Sciamanna (shout out—love you, girl!). I had a teeny tiny circle of friends, mostly people from work or at the community college I occasionally attended, so I was excited to have a night out.

I think it was Francesca’s sister’s boyfriend who threw the party? I’d never been anywhere in Long Beach but the aquarium and Joe’s Crab Shack. We pulled onto a street lined with cars, and made it up to the split-level. I was dressed like a pirate for the 2nd year in a row. I had dropped $40 on a sweet pirate hat the previous year, and was determined to get some more use out of it. Francesca went in a Día de los Muertos inspired outfit. We passed under some twinkling lights, and by all manner of costumed guests. The party was packed.

Halloween2012

It’s important to reiterate that Francesca was the only person I knew at this party. I mean, I’d met her sister, Sara, of course, but that was it. Anyway, I end up in the kitchen talking to a guy while Francesca is off in the bathroom. Three girls are standing in the corner staring at me, and they’re like, really staring at me. It quickly progressed into whispering in a conspiratorial manner. If I may borrow a phrase from Mariah, I didn’t know them. So I did what any good pirate would do—I finished my beer and shot them dirty looks. Then I confronted them.

“Can I help you?”

They stared.

“No, really, what are you looking at?”

One girl stepped forward, and I swear, she took a long moment. You have to know that I couldn’t imagine what she was going to say, but her face held more awe than it did anger. She even looked a little scared. When she spoke, it came out as a whisper.

“Are you…are you Britany Golden?”

Now I was staring. Really, my heart was doing backstrokes in my stomach. I was sincerely confused.

“Excuse me?”

She looked back at her friends, and repeated herself.

“Are you Britany Golden?”

“Yes…”

“Did you lose your ID in Anaheim 4 years ago?”

The crappy club in Anaheim, the search, the trip to the DMV. It all came back to me.

“I found it, and I kept it. I can’t believe you’re here,” she continued,” I used it as my fake ID for years. You’re Britany Golden!”

By now, everyone in and around the kitchen had figured out what was going on. It was all kind of a blur after that. I think I ran to find Francesca so I could tell her. I didn’t think to exchange numbers with my imposter, or to ask if she still had my ID.

It’s still one of my favorite moments on this planet. It was so wild. Did it mean anything? Who knows. If there is some kind of cosmic lesson to it, I haven’t figured it out yet. It felt like something special happened. At the very least, I was in the right place at the right time.

If you love coincidences and want more, check out that cool episode of This American Life. I love to hear about any and all coincidences, so please feel free to share yours in the comment section!

8 thoughts on “coincidence

  1. When I was very young your grandfather who had correctly realized, very much to his disappointment, and mine, that I was not disciplined enough to be a musician. So he gave me the second most wonderful thing I had ever got in my life. The first was a guitar, The second was a job with a chance to travel and be independent. Although we often butted heads he wanted what was best for me, and him, as he knew he could drive me like no other. At the time I was in pretty rough shape, disillusioned with the world and very Nietzsche like in my philosophy. God is dead! I often thought of suicide and did not fear it as what could be worse than a world without a soul? I would never do it of course but I was a real live for the moment, barroom brawler, drug user, to name a few. I did not like to ever hurt anyone or anything for that matter as the one thing I believed was what goes around ,comes around. If you got a beating from me you more than likely deserved it. Mean people were usually the first to feel it, and I always regretted it in the end because I would hurt you.
    I lived in Hollywood and a amateur cinematographer and screen writer friend had given me a book to read and had said it might help put my feet on the ground. It was the Aquarian Conspiracy by Marilyn Ferguson. In a poll taken and sited in her book was who was your most spiritual influence? Carl Jung was near or at the top.
    Somewhere in northern California Dad and I were waiting for our next job when he spied an old man tearing the covers off of huge piles of brand new books and tossing them in a dumpster. He immediately ordered me to go and get him some of the books out of the can which i begrudgingly did. Anyone that knew my dad could attest to the fact that he read several novels a week, a voracious reader to say the least. The first book I pulled out was called Through the Looking Glass by Morris West. I gathered as many as I could carry for I knew my dad would have them all read in a week but I kept the first one as the main character was mentioned several times in The Aquarian Conspiracy. Carl Jung. I read it and it was OK but did not think much more of it, A short time later I had a dream that when I woke I wrote down on a napkin and went to breakfast. It was just a blueprint of what I thought my brain might look like. Divided into four quarters with a cross in the middle each section pulling apart or opposite of the other but connecting in the middle. We were at that time in Four Corners New mexico and low and behold as I looked up from my food there was a painting on the wall that eerily resembled my drawing! I asked the young Indian waitress what the picture was and she proceeded to tell me that it was a sand painting depicting the cycles of life though the native perspective. The book I had just finished was about Carl Gustav Jung so I made a resolution to investigate him and bought his complete works in a single volume and decided to read it. Within mere pages the same picture I drew was there in his book and called the Philosophers stone. Used by many civilizations as a sort of Mandala or a meditation aid apparently to help people in their quest for meaning. Coincidences and prophetic dreams flooded my next few weeks including the exact red convertible car I was ,unknowing to me at the time, about to buy.
    I gained a deep and lasting to this day connection to God. A god I cant explain, nor can anyone else. As Jung says you cannot prove there is a god, but you also cannot prove there is not one.
    ‘Synchronicity, an acausal connecting principle’. C.G.Jung published by Princeton press 1960. Also an album by the Police that was released coinciding with my ‘dementia.’. One more thing to add. When Nietzsche said ‘god is dead’, what you do not usually hear is the next line…,’and you killed him’. Get in touch with your dreams and God will find you.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Dad, this was above and beyond the call of coincidence duty! I love this story! I’ve never read Carl Jung, but maybe I’ll check him out. I love hearing things like how much Grandpa Minor read.

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  2. I grew up in a relatively small city called La Habra, CA but I went to school in Boston where I met a group of the most incredible people. One guy, Adam (or Newt, as we referred to him based on his resemblance to a salamander) was one of my favorites. When I came back to California, life happened and he and I fell out of touch. We reconnected a few years later at a mutual friends wedding where he told me the story about his recent trip to Iceland. He was in an Icelandic bar when he overheard an older gentleman talking about a little town called La Habra, CA. Newt struck up a conversation with the older man, fascinated by his connection to La Habra. You see, Newt knew someone from La Habra. He had met her in college in Boston. The girl from La Habra was me, and the older gentleman was my high school government teacher. Small world full of coincidences indeed.

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