What are coincidences? Are they truly random events that have a personal meaning to us so that we connect two events and think “Oh wow! What a coincidence”? Or as my mathematician friends will undoubtedly say, is there a statistical probability that two seemingly random events will overlap at a specific time? I don’t even know if that syntax is correct. But the math people will know what I mean. Other people will say it is fate or the hand of God.
All I know is that I had a doozy on Saturday.
Hairdressers, bartenders and therapists have a lot in common. I wonder what would happen if a person’s hairdresser, bartender and therapist got together to swap stories. Had they all heard the same story? Because, face it, with all three of the above, we say way more than we would if we were talking to anyone else in our lives.
On Saturday morning, I went to the hairdressers. I absolutely hate to be touched, unless I’m in control of the touching, so I always cut my own hair. Somewhat successfully, if you squint while looking at me. I don’t even remember when I last went to a hairdresser or salon. Oh, maybe when I was recovering from shoulder surgery and couldn’t do my hair myself.
Without an appointment, I went to a Super Cut in a strip mall in my town. I knew they would be fast and it wouldn’t be too expensive. It wasn’t the money that bothered me, but if I had an expensive stylist, they would probably touch my hair longer.
I was right; the wait wasn’t long. A woman, who was about my age, walked up to greet me as her client was leaving. The other hairdressers were all attending to other people. She seemed very nice and was chatting away to me while putting the towel and plastic cape around my neck and shoulders. She mentioned that she was supposed to be in Alaska for a niece’s wedding but was unable to go, so she was working as usual. If you live in New York, you can probably count the number of people you know who have ever been to Alaska on one hand. And the people I know who have been, have gone on cruises.
I said that I was born at Elmendorf Air Force Base.
She said that she was born at Elmendorf Air Force Base.
We were getting glances from the other clients. We did not share the same birthday, but other than that, this is the mother of all coincidences. The confluence of events that caused me to procrastinate about getting my hair done until the last minute before a TV taping, of all things. That I dodged into this salon instead of the more “upscale” one that I thought I was going to have to endure. The fact that this woman did not go to her niece’s wedding in Alaska and felt the need to share that information. That of the four women working there that day, this particular woman was done with her previous client just as I was the next person waiting.
All of these events led to a meeting and a conversation between two women whose fathers were stationed at Elmendorf AFB, just outside of Anchorage, Alaska, in the early to mid-1950s and were born at the same hospital. And this meeting took place in a hair salon in Putnam County, NY in 2016. I told her the short version of my life story and she told me hers. Random? Fate? Hand of God?
Hairdressers and coincidences. A great combination.