Serendipity (Or, Bumping Into A Rockette)

What constitutes coincidence? By what device, and to what end, does serendipity factor into our lives?

I’ve been wrestling with a spate of last-minute productions despite a mostly non-breaking news environment at the MTV of late. Primarily, it has to do with planning, scheduling, coordination — the kind of thing MTVers loath (but I love).

So there I was, finishing a last-minute project after 8:00 on the first sunny Friday night of the summer, maybe just a little bit bitter. As I finally finished up, and headed for the elevator banks, I got into a discussion with a writer on deadlines and such, thus delaying my escape from 1515 that much more. Once on the street, I dodged the theater-going touristas in a vain attempt to reach my Cannondale before sunset. But by 50th Street, it became abundantly apparent to me that a sunset bike ride was not to be. And so I switched plans, and pointed my casual Friday ass towards CompUSA (way cool summer Friday, huh?).

Then, as a butterfly flapped its wings in Taipai, Hong Kong, Deluth, or wherever, I ran into my first-ever musical theater co-star right here on the crowded, crazy street of New York: former Radio City Rockette, and one-time member of ’42d Street,’ ‘Dame Edna,’ and ‘Cats’ companies, Tamlyn Shusterman. In 1985, she played Mabel to my Frederick in TE Middle School’s rendering of Gilbert & Sullivan’s ‘Pirates of Penzance.’ Despite having moved to New York roughly when concurrent to me (1995), I’ve seen her — max — three times. And so we changed plans (CompUSA? Drink with an old friend? CompUSA? Drink with an old friend? Hmmmm…) and grabbed a drink.

It was interesting. Here’s a woman I’ve known since I was fourteen. Here’s a woman with similar goals (hers: be a Broadway star, mine: be a rock star). But here’s a woman who found what she was looking for it, reveled in it, and moved on (in her case, to Columbia grad school). To Tammy’s credit (oops, she goes by Tamlyn now), she worked her ass off and pursued her vision with singular focus. Me, I did a bunch of things at once (writer, web producer, singer/songwriter, triathlete, stoner), maybe just a little scattershot. She made it, and moved on; I haven’t, and am moving on. We’re fine with it.

It is what it is. It’s where it should be. And so we talked about dreams and goals and what’s next as the urbanglow faded over Midtown, and it was good. It was serendipity.

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