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Tuesday, April 10, 2007


Let's take a moment to ponder this series of coincidences:

Before last night, I had never heard the name Graciela. During dinner, my friend told me about a new woman she met named Graciela while she was traveling in Japan. When I got home, I printed out a contact list for some volunteer work that I'm doing. Last name on the list? Graciela.

Two days ago, we were passing by a series of houses in my parent's neighbourhood. As we passed each one, I pointed at it and told my husband who had lived in each house when I was little. We passed by the house of a boy who was in my nursery school class--my first love. I have harboured a grudge against my nursery school teacher for 28 years because on the last Shabbat, she sat me next to Poison Oak Boy instead of my love, Danny (whom I called "Benny" because I liked the name Benny better than Danny. And Danny never conveyed any annoyance over being called Benny instead of Danny). "She knew this," I told my husband as we passed his old house. "She knew I loved him and she sat me next to Poison Oak Boy."

I am still not over it.

Last night, as I was meeting my friend for dinner--the friend who would tell me about Graciela--I paused in my parking spot to write myself a note. As I moved to open my door, a car pulled into the empty space next to mine and I waited for her car to stop. I thought to myself, "wouldn't it be funny if it were the friend I'm meeting for dinner; choosing the parking spot right next to mine in this huge lot simply by chance."

It wasn't.

It was an old friend from nursery school--one that I haven't seen in over six years since we lived in the same apartment building before we each were married.

We got out of the car and I told her about how I had been speaking about Danny the day before to my husband. And how it was a strange coincidence to bump into another classmate from that small nursery school class 28 years later. She asked what had happened to me in the last 6 or so years since we had last seen each other. We had both gotten married and changed our last names. I had the twins. She didn't have any children yet. She asked if the twins were identical or fraternal. She said, "oh, it must have happened quickly for you!" I pointed out that over 6 years had passed since we had seen each other. The twins were now 2. It hadn't been that quick.

My laydar buzzed a bit in the back of my head. know...laydar? That sixth sense stirrup queens have for figuring out when someone else is a stirrup queen before they say anything? That familiar feeling of knowing that for both women, a good lay brings nothing your way.

We walked into the restaurant together and looked for my friend. She offered to wait with me until my friend arrived. She asked what I was currently writing. I told her that I do freelance work for magazines and I'm working on a non-fiction book. "What sort of subject?" she asked. "Infertility," I answered.

"From your own experience?" she asked hopefully.

"Sure; the kids are fertility treatment twins."

And that's how I learned about her own diagnosis, the start of her first IVF cycle, and how her SIL just told her about her second pregnancy as my friend was telling her SIL about starting treatments.

We go to the same clinic. We have the same doctor in this large clinic. We both have high FSH.

I had been at home, working on the Diagnosis Blilt (oh--side note--send in your words for your square by tomorrow night. I have 35 squares created so far on kicky quilty-looking virtual fabrics. And we haven't had any repeats--every thought is unique. Isn't that incredible? 35 unique reactions to the same news. I'm going to post this first blilt when it's finished on Thursday.) and then I go out to dinner to bump into an old friend with a new diagnosis.

Two girls in a class with perhaps eight girls total end up at the same clinic. What did the teacher put in our grape juice? Or is it all just a coincidence?

In Jasper Fforde's novel, Lost in a Good Book, the main character is being "killed by coincidence." When she asks her uncle what he thinks about coincidences, he says he believes that "most coincidences are simply quirks of chance...[but] the universe always moves from an ordered state to a disordered one; that a glass may fall to the ground and shatter yet you never see a broken glass reassemble itself and then jump back onto the table."

What does that explanation have to do with the conjunction of Graciela-infertility-nursery school coincidences?

Because I marked the page about coincidences in that book when I read it 4 years ago.

What a coincidence that I had some foresight to mark that page for easy retrieval as I write a blog entry about the coincidences of the past three days.

What do you do with coincidences? It seems a shame to ignore them. It seems a little far-fetched to believe these things fall into place randomly and a little far-fetched to believe these things are predestined. It's sort of like a dream that sticks with you--you don't want to overlook it and, at the same time, you know it's probably just your mind finding connections in unconnected spaces. But if the glass can break, why can't the glass unbreak? And if these are simple quirks of chance, why do they make you feel as if someone is jerking your head upward and making you see the bigger picture?


Esperanza said...

I like to think that "Someone is jerking your head up, to see the big picture."

Sometimes, there is reason for the coincidences. Unfortunately, you only see the reason usually years later.

ms. c said...

First: I am so freakin' excited to see this kick ass blilt!

Second: What do I do with coincidences? I try my darndedst to figure out why a coincidence has occured.
My most recent coincidence: Having a dream about a camp friend whom I hadn't seen in 15 years. When I wake up in the morning I find out that she has gone out of her way to find me and contact me.
We still haven't figured out WHY this happened, but I am bneyond certain there is a reason...

Third: About your friend from the parking lot... My eyes filled with tears when I read this. Maybe from relief tha she found you and now will have some comfort along her journey? I love that your "laydar" kicked in. You seem like a wonderful friend to have.

TeamWinks said...

I emailed you my small part of the blilt. Of course I misspelled the dang word in my subject line, but I'm assuming you will forgive me!

What a gift to your friend that she found you. I guess you were here beacon in the storm. We all need one of those...or two, or three.

mandolyn said...

"Laydar." I like that. I'm glad your nursery school friend found you.

I have a hard time leaving coincidences at just that. I'm not sure if I just want there to be deeper meaning or not, but I have a hard time accepting that they aren't significant.

I really like dianne/flutter's take on it above. A lot. :)

Sambalina said...

I just started reading yoru blog, and I see already its going to be awesome. I love your made up words. I do that same or make noises instead of using words.. Nice to find someone else with the "gift".

"Coincidences" - Too many have happned in the past couple of months, to convince me its just fate! It's awesome how it works though!

Serenity said...

Great post. I often wonder if there's more to coincidences too. Like this: When I was unemployed, a chance encounter with a friend at a Halloween party led me to my current career. It happened so seamlessly that for years now I've thought it was kismet - the universe aligning the right way for a moment.

But then I go down the path of applying it to our situation now (i.e. infertility), and it makes me wonder if someone's trying to tell me something - that maybe we're not meant to be parents, because it's so hard for us to conceive.

And, well, those are just depressing thoughts. So I tend to lean on the "it's just coincidence" a lot. It helps me cope better.

I suppose you can't really have it both ways, huh? Random chance if it's bad, but destiny if it's good?

However. I have a post about a coincidence - J's aunt revealing that she's a fellow stirrup queen and recommending a doctor - and I've taken action on it by making an appointment with him for a second opinion. Will, years from now, I look back on this moment and think "that was more than a coincidence?"

I don't know. But it's interesting to think about anyway.

Kir said...

I love this post, I was tearing up through most it thinking..."wow, that really is unexpected".
I completely believe in coincidence, in fact if I were to write down all the things the past 3 years that have happened I would be writing for a couple of seems that lately, lots of things are "connecting" for us and on one hand it's weird for us (and I say us because I tend to see things connect with Mr Kir) and on the other it's like the universe really is trying to tell us to look up, look inside, know we are not alone or islands unto ourselves.

I think it's wonderful that you found your friend again (and that she found you and within that was a safe place for her) , I love the term laydar too. :)

Anonymous said...

I feel like coincidences are the universe's way of getting you to pay attention. There's a message there if you'd only take the time to read it.

Princess Barren said...

I believe that everything happens for a reason, whether it happens to us or someone else. I don't know if it's God or another higher power, but there's got to be *something* that ties us all together, in some way, shape, or form.

Anonymous said...

"Laydar" -- I love it!

I believe in coincidences, in fate, in a higher power, in things happening for a reason. To what extent those are the same forces, I can't say. It's wonderful when they do make sense immediately.

queen said...

LOL laydar.

I believe in providence but I also believe in coincidence. I believe that a pipe is sometimes just a pipe but that other times, ceci n'est pas une pipe.

Coincidence is when we notice providence.

thrice said...

Yes, I believe in coincidences and signs. I'm with Ms. C. What is the onus of some of these signs, especially when they are very LOUD?

KarenO said...

Coincidence translated into Afrikaans (my mother tongue) is "toevallig" (two-fall-lich, the ch being the German way of saying it).

If you take the 3 parts of the word, "toe" = THEN, "val" = FALL and "lig" = LIGHT. THEN God's LIGHT FeLL on it... showing God's hand in everything we see as coincidence or "toevallig". :)