“Fate is like a strange, unpopular restaurant filled with odd little waiters who bring you things you never asked for and don’t always like.”
― Lemony Snicket
So here’s a story.
I’m waiting to meet up with somebody in the middle of downtown Manhattan. This takes like a half-an-hour. I’m standing in front of the original place we were going to dine at…which I found out to my surprise must have recently went out of business. And so when we do finally meet up, we’re going to have to find a new place to eat dinner.
Now, as I wait there…a person passes by who I’ve been studiously avoiding for years!
I’ve been avoiding this person not because I’m a jerk (OK, I am also a little bit of a jerk sometimes), but because I do not want to get into a conversation about our mutual pasts. I’m done with all that, and the last thing I want is to be reminded of it.
What I really would like, instead, is perhaps a freshly-prepared mojito.
So I look away at some very interesting cloud in the sky and pretend I do not see him and his companion. They pass by. Mission accomplished!
Now about 15 minutes later, my companion arrives. As I said, our original destination had closed down, so we go roaming the general area, stepping into a couple of restaurants but leaving for various reasons (too loud, wait-list, etc.).
Hungry and tired after a long day, we finally decide to go to this really swanky large place to eat—a place that, normally, I would NEVER go to in a million years. It’s just that I’m really starving at this point & I just want to eat somewhere relaxing and whatever.
So after a very short wait we are seated at the restaurant.
And who do you think we are seated next to?
Of course, it was the very person I was avoiding!
NOW—what are the odds, here?
Here are the factors that had to be overcome for this to have happened:
- Population density of the area
- The # and arrangement of available seats within the restaurant
- The # of other restaurants we could have went to (there were loads in this area)
- The fact I normally would never go to this restaurant in a million years.
And so we’re sitting there, and my head is about to explode.
This person and his companion were only halfway done with their meal, so in theory we could have ended up in a long conversation about stuff I really didn’t want to talk about through most of my dinner.
I can’t order my drink fast enough. Then the other person recognizes us and voila: we get into the conversation I dreaded.
I try to smile, look nonchalant, and say “hello.”
This sounds as awkward as hell, no?
But here is what actually happened. This person’s companion—a person I’ve never met before—got into this really amazing, karmic, life-affirming talk with me.
Further, it was a talk that touched upon very specific issues regarding my occupation, life-purpose, etc. I was currently trying very hard to figure out. Issues she brought up, seemingly out of nowhere.
Further, since the pressing issue for me was possibly leaving one life-course to embrace another…I think the fact that this particular acquaintance of mine was involved was also significant. He represented “the past” in a way—my past.
That’s when I realized: this was all an elaborate thing set up by the Universe to get me to understand certain important things about my life. I was trying desperately hard to avoid having a conversation with this person—but through an unbelievable accumulation of factors, it ended up happening anyway. Sort of.
And it was the incredible synchronicity of the event which was the “confirming” factor for me—about how I wanted to proceed with my life.
You can’t outrun the past. You might instead just need to take lunch or dinner with it.