A friend calls out of the blue. Out of the blue? From the great blue skies above, seemingly out of nowhere, by chance, by coincidence. Coincidence perhaps, because that same friend had been in mind, for a few days.
Then, they call. Words are spoken in surprise. “I have been thinking of you lots lately, how lovely yet strange that you call.”Smiles carry down the super quick telephone wires. Old friends reunited by 21st Century telephonic infrastructure and coincidence.
This was a coincidence, wasn’t it?
This very morning, a lovely sunny Sunday morning, I was driving some tennis students a long way across country to Cambridge. Cambridge, a city rich in culture, sport and academia; a city rich in Englishness. My mind wanders to the breakfast I hadn’t yet eaten. Hungry. I picture bacon sandwiches. I try to be vegetarian as much as possible for many reasons; a simple bacon sandwich is offered to me in my head.
The tennis coach is telling me how, by chance, he got the job just three months ago. Bacon sandwich. He had just arrived back from nine years touring America as a top tennis coach, visiting nearly 40 states in the process. No mustard, pity. Wow, I say, that’s more states than most Americans have been to I would imagine. Yep, says Dan smiling. He had only been back in Somerset for one day when a relative of his (I can’t recall whom), bacon sandwich, says that there is a coaching job going at Millfield School. Tennis? Yes. It was passed on to Dan, who applied and, of course, got the job.
It was meant to be, I glibly say. Dan says that his best friend used to say that to him all the time. He says that his friend used to say that the Universe would have wanted him, Dan, to get the job. Dan is looking at me, my middle aged wiseness. He eagerly asks, do I believe in that? Of course I do. Bacon sandwich; I don’t care if it has rind on.
Is it coincidence? Was it meant to be? Yes, I think that Dan getting the job, whilst not even looking for a UK based job, was totally meant to be. Dan had been playing tennis all his life; he learnt to crawl, walk, run then play tennis. It’s his life. In his own words, he lives, breathes and sleeps tennis. It’s his passion, his purpose, his life. Dan is 26 and the tennis coaching job at Millfield School came to him by coincidence. No mustard, ketchup would do.
My eyes are on the road ahead and he asks, “So it’s not coincidence?” Of course it is, I say. Well, we can still label it coincidence. It is the way the Universe creatively behaves. What a gorgeous game, sending us coincidences. They are not coincidences but it’s really fun to think that they are. Will the Universe mind if I eat the bacon sandwich in my head?
The young chaps in the back of the minibus are sleeping so we drive on, another 29 miles to the next motorway services. Stomachgrumbles. Bacon. Sandwich. As they wake, one of the chaps asks if we are en route to Chieveley services. Is it good there? asks Dan. Bacon sandwiches? my head chimes in. I live there, says Ed. Ed, one of the tennis students is promptly speaking to his Dad on the phone. “Dad, we’re about 25 minutes from Chieveley, can you make 1, 2, 3, 4… 8 bacon sandwiches?
”My mind somersaults. Dan is saying that there won’t be time to stop, there won’t be time to pop home and catch up. Can your Dad bring the bacon sandwiches to the services? The rest of these young men are whooping, laughing, in high spirits. Why would we not go slightly out of our way? Why would a young man not want to see his parents? Why would we scupper the chance of two strangers, somewhere along the road of this journey, not having fleeting moments with their son and his friends? Bacon sandwich. Yes!
As the boys march into Dan’s parents home, I swing the minibus around, so that we can have a safe swift getaway on to Cambridge. Was this all meant to be? Totally. Was this mere coincidence? If you wish! Here’s the addition for me: I was to get to Cambridge and write the monthly article for our Aladdin project. This is simply a coincidental story.
Rewind slightly. I sit in the minibus with these thoughts floating across the tennis court of my mind. Ed’s Mum is outside, offering me a bacon sandwich. I want to profusely thank her but she is profusely thanking me for delivering her her son. She apologises too. Can I get you mustard? It’s alright, ketchup will be perfect. Thank you.
– Stu Packer (Superact UK)