Have you ever heard stories of astounding coincidences? You know, the sort in which someone overhears the stimulating conversation you are having with a friend, recognizes your genius and offers you a job managing his business? Well, that isn’t my kind of coincidence. Instead, I get ones like this.
During the third week of my holidays, I rode out to the edge of town where all the big department stores are located - our city prefers to have them there for the inconvenience of the retirees which it likes to claim find the city irresistible, leaving the downtown to deteriorate into a slum - and bought a large supply of Fancy Feast cat-food. I feed this to Renn, who is very changeable with regard to other brands, and to Josie, who currently has gone off Merrick. The flavour I purchased was ‘seafood’. On my way back, I stopped at Peaveymart, a hardware shop. That business does not have a bicycle stand, so I chain my bicycle to the rails of a metal fence, behind which is kept gardening supplies. I saw, on the ground, just within this fence, a tin of Fancy Feast ‘seafood’.
I had put my own supply in the box I habitually carry on the back of my bicycle, and had not opened it, so this single tin had not dropped from my just-purchased stock. Anyway, the tin, though substantially undamaged, had been in the elements for a while, to judge by the dirty and torn paper label. The last time I had been to Peaveymart, I had taken advantage of travelling in that direction and bought some Fancy Feast then, too, but it had been ‘ocean whitefish’ variety, with a different coloured label.
The explanation may be in that I always carry a tin of cat-food with me on my bicycle. It could come in handy, as it did when we were trying to trap Rebecca a couple of months ago. At one point, I couldn’t find the tin and wondered if I had used it and not replaced it. The orphan tin at Peaveymart may be that missing item.
That possibility itself creates a coincidence: a tin I may have lost weeks before, re-appears directly in front of me, just within my grasp behind a locked fence. It could have been crushed by an automobile tire, kicked away by a booted foot, dented into unfamiliarity, hidden under piles of bagged soil; it could have been taken away by someone else. Instead, it materialises at the right moment to be found by the person who misplaced it. That’s rather astounding.
And sad. Another person overcomes a million to one chance and bumps into his soulmate, or finds a discarded ticket that wins him a fortune in a lottery, or is in the right place to save lives in danger. I find a long-lost tin of food. Cat-food, of course. My kind of coincidence.