So yesterday I was reading this thread over at the SDMB about strange coincidences in people’s lives, so I thought I’d share my own story:
“Karen” transferred to my high school in my senior year. She liked the same music I did, we had similar senses of humor, and she liked to party, so we became fast friends for the next couple of years.
Karen was really wild though, and she was eventually kicked out of her house for stealing money. So she moved in with a friend… and stole all of his cash, did all his drugs, and ran up his phone bill. She then moved to Pensacola, where she moved in with a girl… and, after a couple of months, stole all her cash, did all her drugs, and ran up her phone bill. She then moved to New Orleans, where she moved in with a guy and (wait for it) stole all his cash, did all his drugs and ran up his phone bill.
Karen would then move back to Atlanta and try to reconcile with her family. But her wild ways would eventually get the best of her, and she would move out and start her “Triangle of Terror” all over again: ripping people off in Atlanta, then Pensacola, then New Orleans, then Atlanta again.
She would normally call me when she was back in Atlanta, and at one point it really seemed as though she had a genuine interest in getting her act together. Things were going so well, in fact, that her grandmother (her legal guardian, the one she had stolen from to get kicked out in the first place) allowed her to have a friend from Pensacola stay with the family for a week. The friend was named Jessie, and I remember her well because I picked her up from the airport (and because she also burned a gigantic cigarette hole in the back seat of my car after passing out drunk a couple days later, but that’s neither here nor there).
Fast forward a couple of years. Karen and I had drifted apart, and I hadn’t heard from her in ages.
I was working in a warehouse at the time, and I listened to talk radio all day long. This is because warehouse work is brutal on portable electronics. Most radios and cassette or CD players only lasted month before being broken, so instead of shelling out $40 for a decent Walkman every month, I had taken to buying $4.99 Coby AM\FM radios and just throwing them away when they inevitably fell on the concrete floor or got crushed somehow. And I listened to talk radio every day because I quickly got sick of local radio stations playing the same 8 songs every. single. day.
Anyway, I was listening to Clark Howard one day, and he mentioned an incredible deal on US Air from Atlanta to Frankfurt: only $298 round-trip! That seemed like the steal of the century at the time, so I called my friend James, and we agreed to try and get tickets when they went on sale a few days later.
We got them, so off to Germany we went. Since we had a rental car, I had only made hotel reservations for the first night. After landing in Frankfurt, we tore down the autobahn to Stuttgart, where our hotel was located. We hung out there overnight, then saw the sights for a few hours the next day before heading down to Munich. James was driving that afternoon, and at some point he mentioned that I should probably look for a hotel room. I whipped out my copy of Let’s Go and started looking for an appropriate hostel or pension in Munich.
One immediately caught my eye. It was affordable. It was in a nice location. But, most importantly, Let’s Go said that it was a favorite for “aspiring young models”. I made the executive decision to stay there, and James readily agreed.
After checking in, I noticed a cute girl staying in the room next to us. She was apparently American, however, and since I was in Germany I had no interest in American women at the moment. Nevertheless, I thought she was cute, and gave her the “head nod” when I’d see her at breakfast or in the hallways.
A couple of days passed, and one night James and I returned to our room at around 10:30. The pension was in an ancient building, and the stairway creaked loudly as we ascended it. The door to Cute Girl’s room opened, and she stuck her head out the door and asked us if she could bum a cigarette. James and I, being the chivalrous men that we were, told her that she could, so she followed us into our room.
I hadn’t really heard Cute Girl talk before, so once she was in the room and the cigarettes were lit, I instantly picked up on her Pensacola accent, which is something like a Southern version of the “Valley Girl” accent, only without the cutesy phrases like “gag me with a spoon” or “totally tubular”.
I asked if she was from Pensacola, and she said that she was. I mentioned that my friend Karen had lived there several times (“Karen” isn’t her real name, but she did have a unique spelling of a common name, which I mentioned). Cute Girl froze and asked if it was the Karen who knew Jessie. I told her that I knew a Jessie through Karen. Cute Girl jumped up and ran back to her room, returning a few minutes later with her wallet, which had several pictures of Cute Girl and Jessie together. Come to find out, Cute Girl and Jessie were best friends. And now Cute Girl knew that I was the same Jim that Karen and Jessie had mentioned a few times!
It really is a small world, ya know. I had picked the hotel completely at random from a guide book, and there – in the very next room – was a girl from a city I’d never visited, who nevertheless knew who I was.