Elsewhere in this column, I have pointed out that unless you live on a desert island – or are serving life in jail – millions of things happen to you in a lifetime. Thus it would only be a statistical anomaly if every now and again, a major coincidence did NOT occur.
I have experienced a number – but most would mean nothing to YOU, so I will detail only those which you might identify with.
The most recent – which happened just yesterday, giving me the inspiration for THIS – is reasonably computable. Now retired to Thailand, I grew up in Ipswich, England.
And needing root canal work on a tooth, I visited a local dentist. I asked him what was involved and his English not being great, he grabbed his iPad and searched the subject.
After a bit, he found a piece with diagrams and English text. Reading it, I discovered it had been posted by a dentist – two streets away from where I had lived, in England.
Blown away by this (he had no way of knowing WHERE in England I had lived) I tried computing the odds. How many dentists ARE there in the English-speaking World?
That would include not only Britain – but America, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, etc. I would conservatively estimate a hundred thousand plus.
But he clicked on what would have been my local one, were I still unfortunate enough to be living in Blighty. Wow.
This got me thinking about earlier coincidences. Like my early years, here in Thailand, when I got talking to a young English guy who turned out to have been born (some years LATER than me) in the same English hospital as myself.
Although this was not QUITE so remarkable. Tourists get “funnelled” through channels here – and I estimate the number of hospitals still running in The Old Country (those Thatcher did not close) as no more than ONE thousand.
Still a long-shot though.
But further back in my life, two other examples remain.
Just before I hit seventeen, I left Ipswich to seek my fortune in London and caught the fag-end of the Sixties, living in a series of bed-sits and flats, while visiting my folks back in Ipswich periodically.
And the first was when I decided to move from a bed-sit in West London to somewhere more central.
Thus it was that I arrived at an agency in Victoria and asked the guy what he had. Opening a long drawer, he sorted through several hundred cards, stopping at one. “This one becomes available next week – and it’s near where you are now – do you know Acacia Avenue?”
I said I did – it was the very road I was currently living in. Would it be number thirty-two – front upper? It would. We both sat staring at each other. Wow again.
Of course, if the agency had been in the local High Street, this would only have been strange – but given it was one of many in central London, MILES from the bed-sit, the odds were SERIOUSLY long. Then multiply those odds by the number of cards in the drawer…
The second coincidence, at about the same period, happened when I was walking down Oxford Street – and bumped into my parents.
This may not sound like much, until you consider the whole story. My parents only travelled to London about once a year, to catch a West End afternoon matinee. And I rarely inhabited Oxford Street, which was full of EXPENSIVE shops.
Plus they had not TOLD me they were coming. Needing to return back to Ipswich – some seventy miles away – afterwards, they had no time for a link-up. And I was scheduled to visit them the next weekend anyway.
Since they were headed for the Palladium, they would normally have emerged from the Underground at Oxford Circus – but having arrived in London with time to spare, they had decamped at Tottenham Court Road, figuring to walk from there, to do a little window-shopping.
Thus as I was sauntering along, chatting to a friend, we suddenly met.
As with the agency thing, had this occurred in Ipswich High Street, the odds would have been reasonable. But Oxford Street is GIGANTIC, being Europe’s biggest shopping street. One-and-a-half miles long, it has around three hundred shops – and on a typical afternoon, many THOUSANDS of pedestrians.
We were all gobsmacked.
But the best is yet to come. Over four years ago, I wrote a piece in this column on the Paranormal. And while it answers most of the mysteries that have happened to me during my adventurous life – one remains ONLY answerable by a MASSIVE coincidence.
THAT one is a doozey – as you will discover, if you read…