Monday, October 25, 2010

A big coincidence, or maybe it was the bigger plan

If I sometimes wonder whether our actions follow a bigger plan, it's because of a strange coincidence that happened many years ago.

It was late spring 1995 and I was studying for my final exams in high school, not exactly with enthusiasm but with a good deal of sense of duty anyway. During my teens I was a big fan of night radio shows, and during those exam weeks every night, at around 11 pm, I would tune in one particular guy. He had enough sense to curate the song selection (staying out of popularity countdowns, a plus in my book then) and a gorgeous voice to read stories.

Those days, as I still do now, I had the impulse to write him a letter (now that would be an email) to say what I liked most about the show and, I thought it was a necessity, to say what I would like to see changed. I wrote the letter and it stood on my desk until it was too late, so I tossed it into the bin and I forgot about the issue.

One afternoon, listening to that same radio but to an earlier show, I heard a poem. "Say who wrote the poem and in which film it was recited and enter a contest for cinema tickets". That very poem had been in my Literature class the previous year, and my parents had rented the film in question during that month, so I knew the answer for certain. Some people's calls were aired, and they were wrong. I phoned, said my answer, and waited anxiously for the drawing.

They drew the winners and my name wasn't among them. I shrugged it off and went on to do whatever I was doing then.

But a couple of hours later the phone rang and it was from the radio, to say that one of the winners had declined the prize and they had pulled my entry. Congratulations, they said, come by the radio from tomorrow 10 am on.

That following day, it was a Friday, I remember, during my self imposed lunch break (I was studying hard, remember that) I rode my bike down to the station to claim my tickets. And I wrote a new letter to the night show guy, having my say, which I left at the reception desk. That night I went to see the movie with my dad, and got back just in time for my favorite emission.

The first thing the man said was Julia, if you're listening... Thank you, and he didn't mention my letter or my name again but he played the songs I had said I liked. That night the show was just for me.

That Saturday I got a package with a long letter and a CD I still treasure. The letter explained that the day before, in the late morning to be exact, he had been summoned to discuss his new contract but he had been fired instead. Nobody cares about your little night program was in a nutshell what his bosses had said, and he was, like, clubbed in the head or elbowed in the gut, but then he was handed my letter and read it and saw they were wrong. There was, at least, one listener who cared and he was immensely relieved, exhilarated almost.

The program lasted a couple more weeks on air, during which he encouraged readers to send mail and seemed to me that he had quite a lot of feedback. And then his time in that station was over.

I tried to track him in other radios but he moved on to other formats and media, becoming more and more visible. I never wrote him another letter and once I crossed him on the street I simply nodded as to say I know who you are, hi. Mainly because I thought, and still think, that there wasn't anything to say and my little anecdote doesn't need to have a follow-up.

Because it was just a big coincidence, or maybe it was the bigger plan of life and things.

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