Item 1: While walking down “I” street listening to a podcast, the host were discussing companies associated with presidential candidate, Mitt Romney. One organization, Stericycle, commands the bulk of their conversation.
Until that moment, I never heard of Stericycle. Until that instant, I never saw anything associated with Stericycle. And, at that exact second, a Stericycle truck rumbles up next to me.
“What a weird coincidence,” I thought. “One minute prior and I would not have noticed it. One minute later and I would not have been here.” I am astonished.
Item 2: A couple days later, a client offers to put me up in the Wingate Hotel in Latrobe, Pennsylvania. Hours later, the main character in the book I’m reading decides travel will clear her head. Of all the locales, towns, and inns on this this enormous planet, the author chooses the exact identical Wingate Hotel in Latrobe.
“Freaky,” I thought, dropping my book. Although my client decided to let me find my own lodging, two powerful coincidences in a row have me uneasy.
Item 3: I recall a long-lost friend from the eighties, wondering how he is faring these days. No problem, he calls that day to tell me.
Item last: I am reminded of a movie I haven’t seen in decades. My DVR “accidentally” records it that night. What are the odds?
As Freud purportedly said, “Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar.”
I get it. A coincidence is exactly that. Yet, I can’t help wonder when so many wash up one after another like waves on beach, might there be meaning?
Cut to lunch with a friend the following week:
“Really?” she asks incredulously, “Those all happened in that short of a time?”
“Yep, weird, huh?” I reply.
“You’re getting a message! I know your client made other plans — but you MUST stay in that hotel! A miracle’s waiting; I swear it!”
Her enthusiasm and strong beliefs are contagious — besides, what could it hurt? I reserve one night in the hotel.
Neither lined with gold nor floating on clouds, the hotel is actually pretty non-descript, appearing as so many chain roadhouses which dot our highways. Nevertheless the memory of her fervor has me titillated as I approach its entrance a few weeks later, my body coursing with adrenaline at the possibilities.
Will I be their one-millionth customer and win copious amounts of cash? Might I save someone’s life and become a national hero? Will a choir of angels greet me in the lobby?
Yet, I worry; should a “miracle” occur, how would I know? Will there be clues? Do I stay in my room and wait, or must I search it out, like some cosmic game of hide and seek? Wouldn’t it be a drag if I was in the bathroom at the time and I missed it? Oy! I don’t know what to do. I’m not good at waiting for miracles.
Upon checkout next morning, lacking sleep waiting for a miracle that never materialized, I relay my story to the desk clerk. I joke it off to help alleviate the embarrassment I feel about believing divine intervention would make itself know for a middle-aged speaker in a chain hotel in the keystone state on a rainy September day.
The automatic door swooshes open and I tug my suitcases towards the parking lot. The clerk calls out, “Did you ever think that — because you were here last night — a miracle happened for someone else, and it wouldn’t have occurred if you stayed elsewhere?”
No, I had not. But when I did, I smiled.