6.21.2005

sitcom syndrome

for the past few months i've noticed a convenient but slightly disturbing trend in my life that i dorkily think of as "sitcom syndrome." for the most part it manifests itself in little ways: when i enter the subway, the right train pulls in immediately. when i need to park a car, there's always a space directly in front of wherever i need to be. little helpful things like these keep the narrative of my day-to-day buzzing along, and their consistent nature gives me something cute to muse about and sort of half-heartedly wonder if my life isn't actually a scripted, plotted entity a la the truman show: a sweet if somewhat plodding serial about a girl who goes on a seemingly endless string of job interviews, each interviewer wackier than the next, each interview ruined, seinfeld-style, by a minute flaw that is somehow blown up to a massive scale. but the last few weeks have really pushed my willing suspension of disbelief too far. how much coincidence can one person's life really hold? Two examples:

One sunday night in May, after dropping Liz off at Port Authority, i decided to go by myself to see Millions. It's a kids' movie, and it was 9pm on a school night, so the theater was virtually empty. I hunkered down in the fifth-to-last row with my gallon of diet coke, and settled in to watch the previews. As the "turn off your cellphone" clip started playing, a guy in his 30s came into my row - which was surrounded by other empty rows - and sidled past me, sitting two seats away. After the movie was over, I walked to the subway and noticed he was walking a few people in front of me. Once in the Times Square station, I went to my platform and realized he was already there. We got on the same car, sat in seats opposite one another, and both pulled out books by John Updike. Then we both got off at 110th street and walked three identical blocks before he turned off at Columbus. Three days ago, I ran into him at Starbucks on the Upper East Side. I have no idea if he was aware of any of this.

This past Saturday morning, after a late night, I woke up to knocking at my bedroom door. Assuming my roommate was on fire or similar, I leapt out of bed (wearing underwear and a t-shirt and not much else) and flung open the door, revealing not flaming Mia, but rather a real estate broker standing in my living room, clients in tow. "We just wanted to see your bedroom," she smiled, as my sleep-addled brain processed several facts. 1) There are people in my apartment who I did not let in. 2) My apartment is not, in fact, for rent. And even if it were, my lease isn't up until September. 3) THERE ARE PEOPLE IN MY APARTMENT WHO I DID NOT LET IN. And then one of the people said "Helen!" and holy crap the clients were both APDA debaters, and so the fact that I was in my underwear was slightly less awkward, because the strangers who had let themselves into my apartment with a key illegally given to them by my questionably competent landlords were not actually strangers at all.

Truly, what are the odds?

4 comments:

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