Adventures from Back of Beyond

Monday, March 23, 2009

Coincidence or Cosmic Synchronicity?

Tell me if you think these three occurrences, which recently happened over the course of 4 days, are just random coincidences, or could there be -- might there just be -- something more going on.

We recently traveled to Tucson for a few days of R&R. The Sonoran Desert is superb in March, and there's lots going on culturally in Tucson compared to Back of Beyond. For dinner on our first night we chose one of Tucson's best Mexican restaurants, Mi Nidito. You just don't find much better authentic Sonoran-style Mexican food.

At least a 30 minute line was waiting outside when we arrived, regulars were playing board games out on the front patio to pass the time. The joint was jumping, loud and boisterous, to say the least.

At some point during our meal, which was excellent and well priced by the way, through the noise and din we observed a very loud baby crying. Its mother was doing her best to quiet the baby, and we couldn't help but notice her -- heavily tattooed, and with bright orange obviously dyed hair. Wild. But that was that, and we didn't think much of her beyond that.

The next morning we went out to breakfast at one of Tucson's most highly-rated breakfast restaurants, Blue Willow. This restaurant is located across town from Mi Nidito, and we arrived relatively late, close to lunch time. Guess who was sitting a few tables away from us. Yup, our red-head friend, with loud child once again. Now what are the random chances of that happening in a town of over a million people?

Now, here's number two random occurrence. Later that same evening on an elevator at the JW Marriott Starr Pass hotel, I noticed a familiar face. I couldn't help but stare a little, not trying to be rude, but wondering where I knew this man. He looked at me quizzically.

I asked, "are you on radio and TV?" He shrugged in an almost "got me" pose: "yeah."

"You're Ron Wolfely", I said. "Yeah."

Ron Wolfely is the color man on radio for the Arizona Cardinals professional football team, and I had actually admired his work for a long time. I've never been much of a Cards fan, because the team seemed hopelessly inept, until this year when they went to the Super Bowl. But Wolfley, a former NFL player, is a broadcasting natural. And I told him so.

We had a nice conversation on the elevator, and he turned to shake our hands as he left, and we introduced ourselves. It was a nice contact.

The following night as we left the hotel for dinner, this time to a nearby steakhouse called Daisy Mae's, I noticed Mr. Wolfely sitting in the lobby as we passed. Soon, within a couple of minutes, I noticed he and his party were walking right behind us to the elevators down to the parking garage. We would have been in the same elevator again, but we chose to walk the quick flight of stairs down to the lot. Weird coincidence?

There's more. I thought that was that, but no. Guess who arrives at the same time as we do to the steakhouse? Yup, Wolfely and party, which now includes Arizona Diamondbacks play-by-play announcer Darrin Sutton. And guess who sits about 3 feet away from me at the next table over. Yup.

So is this connection with Wolfely entirely random coincidence? I mean what are the chances of two entirely random elevator encounters happening and precisely the same time, then we sit right next to each other in the same restaurant?

Now the third. This is the following morning now. We go on a hike through the magnificent foothills, washes, and hillsides of Tucson Mountain Park. There, in the ruins of an old stone house way out in the middle of nowhere, we encounter a couple of other hikers. We engage them in friendly conversation, and discover they are visiting from Germany. We introduce ourselves. The man's name is Douglas, his wife Brigette. The speak English fluently, and we have a nice time talking. Then we are on our way without a second thought.

The next morning we are leaving Tucson, headed back to Back of Beyond. But first we must find a Wells Fargo bank to take care of some financial business. By this time we are a good 20 miles from Tucson Mountain Park. We find the bank, take care of business, and are now ready to head home on the interstate.

Making a right turn at the corner of Ina Road and Thorneydale, guess who I spot standing on the corner? Yup, Douglas and Brigette. Now keep in mind Tucson is like many towns in the western U.S., where you see very few pedestrians. You simply must have a car to get around.

I stop, roll down the window, and say, "boy you two really get around!" There's big smiles on their faces as they recognize us and the sheer magnitude of this seemingly random coincidence.

Is all this just random? Or just might there be something more at work here, I don't know, maybe some guiding cosmic force or hand? If so, what is the message, the underlying meaning?

Or do we conclude there is no such thing coincidence? Does everything happen for a reason whether we know it or not?

After all this, my kids told me to buy a lottery ticket.