Sunday, March 15, 2009


In our culture, outside of Carl Jung who coined the term, synchronicity hasn’t been given its due. It hardly ever shows up in literature—in fact a friend was once told in a writing workshop that, to be believable, “coincidences” should be strictly limited to one per novel. Go back another century, however, and we have Dickens, Trollope, and Austen peppering their books with unexplainable happenstances. Sometimes I think synchronicity is all over the place if you’re looking for it, but sometimes it shows up even when you’re not. I offer this story as an antidote to the tales of doom and gloom that saturate the media.

Last Tuesday night, a neighbor I’ve known since he was small, Oliver Antunes, was bummed. A 2008 graduate of the New England Culinary Institute, Oliver left his job as poissonier at Wheatleigh, a posh Berkshire resort, and has been living with his mother, studying French, and catering private dinners, saving up to go live in Europe and pursue an apprenticeship with a top restaurant in Lyon. Through his Portuguese father, Oliver has a dual passport that allows him to live and work in the EU. He’d lined up his contacts and even an apartment in Lyon when, on Tuesday, a catering job that would’ve brought him close to his goal was cancelled at the last minute. Commiserating with her son, my friend Crane (a single mom who’s supported three children with her panoply of talents including cooking) asked how much more he needed. “$4,000” Oliver answered, before disappearing to the village market to buy a can of beer. The next morning Crane noticed that Oliver was up and out uncharacteristically early. It turns out that, along with his can of beer, Oliver bought a $1 lottery ticket, and not wanting to say anything until he had the check in hand, had gone off to the Lottery Commission in Springfield to redeem it. The amount? $4,000.

Bon voyage, Oliver!

4 comments:

Sheree Rensel said...

Oh YES! I love it! I totally believe it too! Stuff like this happens to me all the time. I think you are right. Synchronicity is alive and well if you expect it and believe it will happen.
:-)
P.S. Congratulations Oliver!

Martha Miller said...

what a great story! thankyou for sharing it!

deb said...

Oh I love it when the universe delivers, thanks for sharing this!!!

Anonymous said...

oh, I'm teary!
Ann