Almost fifteen years ago now, I was a brand-new attendance technician/registrar at a middle school. There was a young lady, early in those middle school years, who wasn’t very good at getting her backside to school. As was my job, I stuck my nose in and tried to help. I remember I cajoled, I bribed, I threatened sternly with “you need an education to get anywhere!” We talked. She would tell me her problems, I would point out boys were not worth missing out on school and she was already beautiful so she didn’t need to be late because of her hair. She would blush and thank me and try a little harder. I’d tell her she was smart, and she just needed to show up to see a change in her school life, and such things. When I did see her in school, I made sure to say hi and encourage her.

Eventually, as happens, she made it out of middle school and went on to high school. Sometime after that (or perhaps during, my memory is not good at timelines) she dropped by the middle school to introduce me to her baby. A few times she came by to pick up her youngest sibling, on his way through my school. I was always thrilled to see her. But then I changed jobs, and we didn’t move in similar circles anymore.

This morning for some reason I was thinking of her as I unlocked the doors at my new school, and I wondered how she was doing. Not three hours later, her mother walked into my office.

They’ll tell you it’s coincidence. They’ll tell you it’s confirmation bias. You only remember the times it happened, not all the times it didn’t. Well, that’s somewhat true. I do remember how often I would be in a child’s file, whether on the database or actually with the folder in my hand, when that exact child walked into the office. When my school had an enrollment of 800, that sort of thing was notable. And it wasn’t just the “usual suspects” either, though that certainly happened. It would also happen with kids who had never been in trouble in their school careers. Kids who were never absent or even late. Sure there were tons of times I didn’t have a child’s file on hand when he/she walked into the office, but I still think the coincidences happened uncoincidentally often. Like, a couple times a week. That’s just weird.

The sensible people will tell you it’s all random. They’re probably right, but to quote one of my favorite movies, “where’s the fun in that?”

I like serendipity. I like surprises, but only happy ones. (Meaning don’t jump from behind a door and scream at me; I don’t care how much I want to see you if you do that it is not going to be pretty.) I like a lot of things we are supposed to admit aren’t real, like elves and dragons and dinosaurs created from mosquito-found DNA.

Of course, there could be another explanation. It could be a glitch in the Matrix.

It could also be that we’re all just a projection, and sometimes the writers forget to embiggen things enough to avoid little coincidences.

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