[A repeat from August 2, 2013] You meet someone you know in a faraway place. Wow! What a coincidence. You run across someone that shares your name. Whoa! What a coincidence. We’ve all had that moment of coincidence when we slap our forehead and go “that’s pretty cool.”
I’ve had my share of coincidences but none more profound than happened when I was dating this girl I’d met on a blind date. Donna. I was in law school and she in grad school. Donna had a subscription to the Lyric Opera. One seat in the upper balcony. I asked her where she sat. “Maybe I’ll come join you one of these evenings” I offered. She handed me an old ticket stub and I stuck it in my pocket. A few weeks later, a night class was canceled and I had the evening off. I thought tonight’s Donna’s opera night. So – I’ll go to the opera. I walked over to the Lyric’s box office and was directed to the 7th floor (as I recall) where there was a ticket office. I pulled out the dog-eared ticket stub and handed it to the woman behind the counter. “I’d like to get the seat next to this one for tonight.” The woman looked at me like I was an idiot. “Sir, tonight is Rigoletto. We’ve been sold out for six months. And we have a loooong waiting list.” At that moment, the stars and planets fell into alignment. The sages of the ages seemed to nod in somber agreement. Just as I was about to turn around and leave, a woman walked from behind a partition and said “here’s a cancellation.” And handed the woman I’d been talking to a piece of paper. The woman looked at it. And then at my ticket stub. “Oh my. . . .” was about all she could say. The cancellation was precisely, exactly, the seat next to Donna’s seat.
The woman looked at me. “I know we have a waiting list but I’m not sure I could give this to anyone else. . . under the circumstances.” And she sold me the ticket for Rigoletto. I arrived late. The lights were out. And I sat down, waited a brief moment and grabbed her leg. She jumped and let out a whoop like Gilda, the soprano. And the rest – as they say – is history. What a coincidence. . . .