Have you ever had a day so full of unexpected coincidences that it seems almost surreal? I had one of those the other day.
I went to a paddleboard (SUP) race on Saturday with my good friend Courtney in Treasure Island. Courtney is the friend that I did paddleboard yoga with about a month ago. We’re big enthusiasts of all things involving paddleboarding. I’m not such a big fan that I actually made it there in time for the race or anything crazy like that, but I did manage to hang out on the beach afterwards.
My other friend, Jose, joined us at the beach. I had figured that Jose and Courtney would have some stuff to talk about because he was born in Guatemala and she taught English over there for a year. And they did. At least 3 full sentences worth.
Courtney and I went to junior high and high school together, she’s one of my oldest friends and such a gem! I’ve known Jose for a few years but never realized until we were talking at the beach that he had gone to our high school, too. He went there the year after we graduated so our paths never crossed back then. We all had a nice time hunkering down under the beach umbrella and occasionally venturing into the water to create some warm spots.
On our way back to Courtney’s house to get cleaned up for dinner we stopped by the Suncoast Surf Shop because they were a sponsor of the event and if you registered for a raffle ticket you could win a paddle, which they would be giving away at the party we planned to attend later in the evening.
My other friend, Maura, who is morally and physically opposed to sunlight, met up with all of us later in the day, when her pristine Irish skin would be safe from any UV rays.
I’ve been wanting to introduce Courtney and Maura for some time now because they are two of my best friends and are both funny, smart, laid-back women who are always up for anything and who cause my face to hurt from laughing so much; so I thought they would like each other.
When I arrived at the beach Courtney told me about her evening the night before. She met up with some friends and they went to this new place in Tampa, a speakeasy. She described it as a slightly pretentious place with expensive drinks where you had to have a password to get in the door. Gag. I asked how you got the password and she laughed and said, “I think you just call them and they give it to you.” What is the point? I don’t get it.
She said it was one of those nights when she questioned what the hell she was doing and wondered how she had gotten roped into this cheesiness. (I’m paraphrasing because I wasn’t secretly recording the conversation and don’t remember her exact words, but, suffice it to say, she wasn’t impressed).
So, Maura meets us at Courtney’s place and I finally get to introduce these two awesome friends of mine. Maura starts to tell us about what she did the night before and she says, “My friend’s birthday party was at this new place in Tampa–you know those places that just seem like they are trying to hard?…”
Courtney and I cut our eyes at each other.
I said, “Wait a minute. Was it a ‘speakeasy’ by any chance?”
Maura said, “Yes! It was awful.” (Also paraphrasing her words, which were undoubtedly more eloquent).
Courtney and I started laughing and explained to Maura that Courtney had been at the same place last night. It was a funny coincidence and I loved that my two friends–that I knew would connect when they finally met–had the same reaction to that place.
Our evening plans included dinner in fabulous downtown St. Pete followed by some live music, which was a continuation of the paddleboard event and where the raffle winner would be announced. A great band called The Hip Abduction, who I had enjoyed once before at the Gasparilla Music Festival, was playing at an afterparty at Gator’s Cafe. I was psyched to see them again but a little worried that we were going to miss their set since our dinner ran late and the band had to stop playing by 10:00 due to a noise ordinance. Seriously, old people? 10:00 on Saturday night? That’s a bit crotchety.
But thankfully, though they had already started, we made it in time. We maneuvered into a space in front of one of the speakers and rocked out. They were even better than I had remembered. I plan to catch their shows as often as I can and highly recommend them if you like super-fun, reggae-ish, jam-bandy type music. (I apologize to them if that is not exactly how they like to be described).
At the end of the show the lead singer started introducing the band members and when he said the bass player’s name, Courtney’s ears perked up and she said, “Hey! I think he teaches at my school!” (She is a librarian.)
She peeked her head around the column of speakers that had been blocking her view of him the whole time and saw that it was indeed her fellow teacher. Then a lightbulb went off and she said, “He told me he was in a band, I just didn’t realize it was this band. No wonder the name sounded familiar!”
Courtney’s teacher friend from the band came over to talk to us and said to her, “I think you might have won something. They were calling your name earlier and I was like ‘Hey, I think I might know her.’ ”. Courtney had won the raffle!
Unfortunately, due to our lateness, Courtney didn’t end up getting the paddle. They wanted to present it to someone who was actually at the party. Understandable. But I still think it makes for a good story because I’m a sucker for all of the little happenstance occurrences that highlight just how connected we all really are, even if we don’t realize it, as we go through this life. This day was full of them and I enjoyed every minute of it.