STDriving home from the park the other day I had a talk with the kids about the idea of serendipity. I told them how saw I four different people at the grocery store the day before who were wearing earbuds. All of them completely focused on their task. None of them making eye contact with anyone else. None of them open to serendipity. It’s not that I think people who wear earbuds shopping are jerks, I just think they’re part of a movement away from friendliness. And believe me, I’m not the friendliest guy out there. Far from it. But I do make eye contact. And I do exchange greetings when necessary, whether that’s a nod or a “hello.” Being aware of other people is the only way I know to allow for serendipity to occur. Belize was all about serendipity. Everyone made eye contact. All colors and ages of people. It was beautiful. I love Belize.


So it’s like this, before they became your best friend, you didn’t know that they were going to be your best friend. Rather, there was a specific moment when you were open to letting them in. That’s when the spark of serendipity occurred, and what eventually led to your current relationship.

I think we try so hard to control our lives today that we close the door to other people once we reach something like a friend quota. No, you can’t be besties with everyone you meet, but you’ve at least got to be open to other people. Because you just never know. Also, because you’re human.

After our talk the other day, the rest of the way home the kids waived at people out the car window and yelled, “Hello!” Hopefully it’ll stick. Then I can say I’ve done my part to make the world a better place.


Jim Mitchem

Scene from an American Coffee Shop
One Minute as a Black Man

Jim Mitchem

Writer. Father to daughters. Husband. Ad man. Raised by wolves. @jmitchem on twitter. First novel, Minor King, out now.

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