“If coincidences are just coincidences, why do they feel so contrived?”

The last thing I listened to last night before I went to sleep was the song “I’m Not Like Everybody Else“, because I’d recently been reminded of it when I’d heard it at the end of an episode of The Sopranos and I liked it very much.

Not long after I’d awoken this morning, I received a phone call from a friend of mine in London, asking if I’d been in the city yesterday in the area of the British Museum, because both he and someone else were certain they’d seen me there, although neither of them had been able to attract my attention due to the noise and the crowds, as well as the fact that I neither carry nor use a mobile phone. I hadn’t been in London, so I was naturally curious about this, all the more so because I’ve had a great interest in doppelgangers for decades as a result of a bizarre experience that I recounted in A Tale of Sound & Fury.

Immediately after the phone call, I remembered that Holland Park in London was once famous as a place where people sometimes saw their doppelgangers, but as I couldn’t find the book in my study that contains this information, I typed HOLLAND PARK DOPPELGANGER into a search engine, to discover that the only matching result had been posted on my birthday, twelve years ago.

All these strange things are doubtless nothing more than meaningless coincidences that have had no effect on my life for good or for ill other than to make me stop and wonder, but as Fox Mulder asked in Clyde Bruckman’s Final Repose, “If coincidences are just coincidences, why do they feel so contrived?”

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