Sunday 14 February 2010

I don't believe in coincidences...

or do I?

I often start to say something to a friend only to hear them saying it first.

‘Creepy!’ I think. ‘Am I psychic or was that a coincidence?’

Surely the most logical explanation is that we spend a lot of time together and so have similar thoughts and experiences. Likewise a phone call from my mother will often coincide with me thinking that I really must ring her.

I would like to think that serendipity* is not a coincidence but some sort of divine intervention. When I first joined Twitter I tweeted just the once and my name was seen by the Chair of Lapidus. This is a lady who never normally uses Twitter but she recognised me and invited me to a local Lapidus meeting. It was fortuitous, serendipitous, and I’ve gained a lot from that reunion, but why should divine intervention be bothering itself with my Lapidus membership?

Can synchronicity* be explained in a logical way? Have you ever read or written a story only to see the same scenario reported in the news shortly afterwards? When I interviewed Pippa Goodhart last month she told me that she had recently read in the paper about an aristocrat whose wife had given birth to twin boys by Caesarean section and they had to decide which of the two should become the heir.

‘That was almost exactly the dilemma I'd put into my Cake Test story where triplet girls get muddled by the nannies and they have to devise a test to choose which of them would make the best Queen. Isn't life strange?’ mused Pippa and it gets stranger...

Several years ago I was sure that I heard a voice as the phone began to ring. It was my father-in-law’s voice. He’d been dead for many years but I heard him tell me that I was going to have to be strong. In the few seconds that it took me to answer the phone I became convinced that something must have happened to my mother-in-law. I was relieved to hear my best friend on the line but she had called to tell me that her husband had died and I really did need to be strong. So was this a coincidence, because I’m not sure how comfortable I feel about any alternative explanation?

And now I’m faced with another coincidence. Rod has just finished his 3rd month of chemotherapy to control his Amyloidosis. I said in an earlier post how well he was coping with the Melphalan and Prednisolone but that was before he developed blurred vision. Eye Casualty said that his optic nerve is inflamed. They sent him for an MRI scan, lumber puncture, field vision and all manner of tests. Last Thursday he saw an Ophthalmic Neurologist, a Neurological Ophthalmologist and a Haematologist. Three ologists in one day - is this a record? None of them could say what is causing it. It came on shortly after he finished his 2nd dose of Melphalan but apparently blurred vision is not a known side effect... and so it must be a coincidence, or is it?

If you’ve experienced a coincidence without a logical explanation then I’d love to hear about it. Please share it in Comments below.

If you’ve had any experience of Melphalan and blurred vision then we would both be interested to hear from you. If you don’t want to post a comment then I can always be contacted through my website at

I get mixed up with these two words and so have put the definitions here for myself as well as for anyone else with a similar serendipity/synchronicity confusion issue.

* Serendipity: when events coincide with a positive outcome
* Synchronicity: when a series of coincidences appear to be related