Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Coincidences Abound

I wonder about coincidences alot.

It seems like so many events in my life are more than just accidents of fate. Obviously, (for those that believe), there is always some sort of Divine Intervention going on in our lives...but it's mind boggling that every single tiny incident is a "Butterfly Effect" in and of its own. Every seemingly insignificant action can lead to a string of events that change our world.

(Example of the Butterfly Effect in action)

Take my trip abroad to Great Britain 2 weeks ago. I saw an old college friend at Heathrow...that was nice. On my way home, I sat next to my roommate from Yeshiva, and we had a chance to catch up. Also nice.

We land, we're waiting at the luggage carousel in Ben Gurion for our luggage (small carry-on bag, since normally, I would have taken it on the plane but due to Heathrow's "enhanced" security these days I had to check it and only bring my laptop and tallit/teffilin with me in the cabin). The bags are coming out...dropping off the conveyor, going around and around...(why should my business class bags arrive any earlier?) When all of a sudden...a huge green duffle bag emerges...and plops down onto the carousel.

Almost sinister, it looks way too familiar. It even has an orange streamer on it. I pushed forward a bit and confirmed my strange suspicion. This green duffle bag with orange streamer, had my name and address on it in huge letters...in my handwriting.

I know what I checked in in Heathrow...my small travel bag.

What comes out in Tel-Aviv? My huge green duffle bag (I didn't even have time to buy anything even if I wanted to, and prices are much higher in the UK in the first place).

With the Twighlight Zone theme music playing in my head, I try to figure this out. Maybe it's like the mysterious sock problem. You take a basket of laundry to the washing machine, run a cycle, transfer them to the dryer, and then...there are always missing socks.

The closest I've ever come to figuring out the missing sock mystery is the realization that socks eventually come back.

Not as socks, obviously.

They are reincarnated as wire hangers in closets. The more socks I lose, the more wire hangers appear in my closet.

So what's the story with this duffle bag? I start walking around the carousel...stalking my duffle bag to see who is going to take it off.

Will I meet a carbon copy of myself?

Am I in a parallel universe?

And then I see him.

He leans over and with a wide sweeping "shlep", he takes it off the conveyor belt.

My brother in law.

He was on my flight...back from the USA...via London...and had borrowed my duffle bag. (He even flew with my frequent flier points!).

So what happened -- what is the point of this coincidence? I didn't even see him in Heathrow so I couldn't invite him to the business lounge.

His seat was 37J, while mine was 3A so I didn't see him on the plane.

He had a ride to take him home (in a different direction than my cab) so other than saying "hi" to him in the airport, and getting freaked out by seeing my duffle bag emerge from the luggage conveyor...what was the point of this seemingly strange coincidence?

To post this perhaps?

These things seem to happen to me all the time. Do they happen to you as well?

Wherever I am, my blog turns towards Eretz Yisrael


Mike Miller said...

You know, I was going to post some witty comment about how the exact same thing happened to me, and sign it "Jameel's brother-in-law," but now that you don't allow anonymous comments, I'll have to restrict myself to something else. Like...


Emah S said...

no, these things don't happen to me either, but I liked the thought of you finding another you arriving from a parallel universe. So do you think would have called you to come over for shabbat if you were in your town/country visiting?

sorry, got carried away. :)

Jameel @ The Muqata said...

Emah: That's not getting carried away...getting carried away would have been finding my parallel self, and realizing that he didn't live in Israel, but was only coming for a visit. We'd then get into an argument of where to live...he'd suggest maybe New Zealand or Silion Valley, while I'd be suggesting the Shomron.

He would either work in theatrics, advertising, teaching, or journalism...

I could see it being very distressing! :)

Mike -- you aren't my brother in law?

DTC said...

Why does it seem that weird, freaky stories attract themselves to Jameel?

Is it Jameel, or is it just his baggage?


~ Sarah ~ said...

I can understand the cause for concern when your very own bag that you did not travel with pops out onto the carousel!

Can't say that's ever happened to me.

Things like that probably happen often... it's just that we don't always know about it at the time. (It's not like the movies where the viewer can see the two situations happen simultaneously.) But it's a small world and who knows when people are going to cross paths!

kasamba said...

I also like sitting near the front of the plane!!!!

Coincidence? I think not....

Jameel @ The Muqata said...

Kasamaba: LOL!!! Yes, its definitely not a coincidence -- the business class seats just seem to have this attraction of their own.

Sarah: I guess I just see these things happen to me alot more than others. Every time I fly, without fail, there's always some story like this that happens (sometimes more than once)... it could be Jewish Geography...meeting an old friend. I once ran into someone in the US who asked if they could help give money to Gush Katif people, and only 2 hours earlier I had been called from a family and asked if I could find help for them...

Bagel Blogger said...

Weird Co incidence, what would you have done if the 'bag holder' ended up being a 'stranger' who in effect had stolen your bag?

(only to revealed later to be a 'friend of your brothers...)

As for the comment:
Why does it seem that weird, freaky stories attract themselves to Jameel?

Is it Jameel, or is it just his baggage?

Maybe its 'Jameel and his baggage'


bec said...

yes, these things totally happen to me AND they run in my family.
in jerusalem, i ran into a teacher i used to work with in brooklyn, found out that she was newly married and had the opportunity to wish her a mazel tov.
in cairo in 1998, i ran into a friend whom i hadn't seen since 1994, the last time also being in egypt. he was from baltimore.

when my dad was on leave and in shul in hong kong, he met this older woman who, it turns out, knew my great grandfather, who had absconded to england. it turns out she knew him in england, many, many years after he left the US.

or just odd coincidence?
you decide.

rockofgalilee said...

my rabbi in detroit once told a story about how he was walking on a deserted street late on friday night when a car drove by at the same time as a cat ran across the street and got killed by the car. The driver didn't notice what happened.

The rabbi was wondering in his speech wht God was trying to tell him.

Holy Hyrax said...

business class eh? You sell out. This is the last time I'm reading your blog. I'm going back to reading my fellow "coach bloggers"

Holy Hyrax said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Chana said...

There are no such things as coincidences ;)

Fern R said...

I'm impressed you had the foresight to let the bag go around the carosel to see who would pick it up. If I saw my bag with my name on it and my orange streamer, I'd have taken it off the carosel. Letting it go around so that you could investigate was so...Jack Bauer. Have you been watching 24 DVDs in the off season or something?

To answer your original question, no strange coincidences don't happen to me. But then again, I purposely live in a big city so that I can avoid running into my mother's friends and the people I went to religious school with. I don't even know my neighbors' last names, and I would be happier not knowing their first names either. ;-)

MC Aryeh said...

Yes, things like this happen to me alot too...they I have never taken the same plane as your brother-in-law only to find him retrieve your bag with the orange streamer at the carousel...at least not that I know of...

~ Sarah ~ said...

hmm... now that i think about it, such things have happened quite a bit, especially when I was overseas.

Ari Kinsberg said...

here's my freaky airplane story:

4 years ago i brought my grandfater to israel to be buried. while taking a stroll around the plane i ran into someone i knew from college. we started talking and i told him my grandfather had just died on yom kippur and we were bringing him to israel. a little boy sitting next to him looks up at me and asks me "is your grandfather the man who was niftar on yom kippur in bensonhurst?" I answer in the affirmative.

Who was this kid? I didn't think he knew my grandfather. Could it be that someone else from Bensonhurst also died on Yom Kippur?

Before I could think it through, the little boy calls out to his father, sitting a few rows back, "tatty, this is the grandson of the man from the hatzoloh call you went on yesterday."

smb said...

I love twilight zony stories

tafka PP said...

I know your parallel self: He's in Peace Now and he writes for "Tikkun" Magazine. He's a staunch vegetarian. And he's never flown business class- the Non-Profit he works for doesn't allow for such fun.

Rafi G said...

I think he must work for the shabak and was tailing you

the sabra said...

o some of these comments are so funny..esp liked dtc's wit bout u and ur baggage...o and mike bein ur bro in law (hes not really, is he?)..

nothing is coincidence. belivin that is denyin G-d. o and have u ever read Small Miracles? what does she say there-that these things happen to everyone, its only a matter of being aware..opening your heart...

Milhouse said...

I had five of these incidents happen to me, just on my 10-day trip to the Worldcon... OK, they weren't all quite as weird as Jameel's, but the "coincidence generator" was certainly piling them on.

What we think is מקרה, is really מקרא, called from Above.

FrumGirl said...

You posted it because it was a freakish coincidence that had a great explanation. But for those first minutes when you were baffled, it really affected you... quite fascinating!

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