Thursday, February 17, 2011

Coincidences So Strange...

Years ago as I was leaving work on a Friday, a schizophrenic young man who I knew only slightly waved and smiled. Strange man. Had the belief that each inch his hair grew made him immune to another disease, and so viewed anyone who suggested a haircut as a malevolent individual who wanted him to die. He yelled across the parking lot at I got near my car "Say hello to Gottfried Johnson!"

Can we agree that "Gottfried Johnson" is an unusual name to pull out of nowhere?

There is absolutely no way this patient could have known that I had an uncle Gottfried Johnson. I didn't even know it myself, though when we went down to my Uncle Freddy's - that very weekend, hours away, one of five times in my entire life - that very weekend, I checked the mail table and saw that his name was indeed Gottfried. He was a brother-in-law to my stepfather - who, note, has a different last name from me (and from Freddy) - lived nowhere near the place and had never lived either in that town nor in any town the patient had lived in (I checked later). I had mentioned to no one at work that I was going to Connecticut, that I had relatives there, or any other remote hint that has ever occurred to me. Freddy had seldom come to NH. There is simply no explanation except that an unusual person might light upon the eccentric name Gottfried when seeing at a nordic-looking person such as myself, get lucky with the common surname Johnson, and happen to shout a cheery but fairly random encouragement that coincided with a rare but not unique excursion of mine. Time travel seems more likely, frankly.

One more thing. A retirement/assisted/nursing home firm bought the building from the hospital a few years later. Twenty years later, my stepfather moved into that building shortly after my mother died, even though he didn't come from that city. The place was reconfigured, but as near as I can estimate, he was about three doors down from where the patient was when I knew him.

1 comment:

GM Roper said...

Strange things really do happen don't they?