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I've always considered coincidences to be lucky. Even though sometimes they're scary, they're nearly always interesting. At worst? Mildly annoying. Being surrounded with them, however, can have a bit of a claustrophobic effect.

So I'm blessed with more than my fair share of near misses, odd connections and the circling logic that connects it all in the end. What are the chances that in a sea of 40+ thousand, I would run into 2 people I'd met 2 days prior? And I saw them on separate occasions - Kevin, before the race and Craig, post-pavement-pounding. How many people do you know that meet new people at the bar, join their volleyball league, practice once, set up a date for 2 days later and in between practice and the date, end up in a conversation with a completely unrelated group from which one asks if by chance, you'd know the person you practiced with and have a date with the next evening. Pick a name, any name and scare the beat right out of my heart!

So the third time is the charm, right?

Lisa is on the volleyball team mentioned above. She happens to play Monday nights downtown and needed a sub on the 13th of all numbers. I'm not one to pass up playing anything if I'm not otherwise committed so I took the opportunity to fit in a good run before the games. We played our match - first game in full sun and that thick sticky air that makes it hard to breathe. So much so that we were relieved when it started raining during the 2nd game. Big fat warm raindrops that cooled so nicely as they evaporated. And then the wind started up turning the pleasant evaporation into more of a sand-blasting effect. It was hard to play and they'd just called the games but we were almost done so we finished the 3rd game before heading to the Refuge for a couple of air conditioned beers. Somehow we managed not to get hypothermia and I had a great time getting to know the team. We talked about everything from work to fantasy football and they definitely caught my attention when they said they might have an opening in their auction-style league this fall. Hopefully they'll keep me in mind. The A/C did finally get the best of us and we began the soggy way home. Lisa was kind enough to give me a ride, I'm pretty sure I would have melted if I would have tried it on foot.

Rewind two weeks. I keep in touch with a handful of co-workers from Norwest - OK Wells Fargo. Larry was always my favorite and we've been successfully keeping in touch about once a year since my departure in '98. I e-mailed Larry to see how life was treating him and caught up on things over the first week of June.

Imagine my surprise when I receive another e-mail from him on the 17th simply stating:

"So I hear you were quite the volleyball sub on Monday."

It turns out that he knows the guys on the team because he plays fantasy football with them. Yes, he's on the league I was soliciting. They get together every Thursday and every Thursday Larry asks how volleyball went. The usual recap ensues with one of the team members explaining that Lisa brought in a sub. Details given were that I am: Asian, a huge Vikings fan and that I ran to the courts. Larry interjected - "I think I know that girl!" They of course were in disbelief until he came up with my name.

I'll use Larry's descriptor for the situation. Haunting.

And you just can't escape it. Which is why it's important to be nice.


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