I believe in the power of coincidence. Sometimes things just work out. And whether you believe coincidence is derived from a higher power pulling the strings and making life just a little bit quirkier or you think of it as a contrived pseudo-science that connects phenomena to past events after-the-fact as a comforting mechanism, it’s hard to discount the value of these laughable happenstances.
You see, today is March 31, 2016. To you, that date means nothing. It’s the end of March. And unless the 31st is your birthday or anniversary or marks a significant moment in your life, it’s probably just another day. To me though, it’s one of those pesky little coincidences that keeps me awake at night.
This story, as all of my stories seem to do, begins with a sitcom reference. Well, not so much a reference as a remembrance. Two years ago today, as the astute among you may remember, the final episode of How I Met Your Mother aired on CBS. It was a Monday. I was in my old apartment, sitting on the same white couch I have in my current apartment, watching the hour-long special with a friend who watched on my old green couch, the same couch he sat on last night when he came over to chat. We sat spellbound and stunned as the show came to an end. Neither of us knew how to react to the ending of a show that we had grown up watching. We’d never experienced finality in such a direct sense before. But after a couple of minutes we regained our ability to speak and after a couple of days we –as everyone else did too – began to move on.
But that night gave me an idea. From that night on, I decided that I would celebrate March 31 of every year as “Finale Day,” a day spent reliving my favorite and least favorite sitcom finales. And I’ll admit: That’s every bit as lame as it sounds. I’m a lame person after all. But I celebrated last year and I planned on celebrating this year too, until that pesky little mosquito of a coincidence started buzzing in my ear and reminded me that finale day was going to be all-too real for me this year.
As some of you may know, today is my last day in Athens. Tomorrow I will return home for a couple of hours to pack and gather my things, then Saturday I will drive up to New York to begin the next phase of my life. I know I tend to be overly nostalgic and excessively sentimental sometimes, but the reality of this scheduling coincidence, the reality that the finale of this phase of my life comes directly on the day that I’ve chosen to celebrate finales, is a hook too juicy for me to pass up.
One of my friends, the same friend with whom I watched the How I Met Your Mother finale, often tells me that there are certain things that can only happen to me because they are things that only I am capable of noticing. This would qualify as one of those things. This is a coincidence only because I set it up to be one, just as this feels like a finale only because I made it so. Most people leave their homes and set off for new adventures without lamenting their woes on their barely-read blogs and they’re no worse for wear. I can think of a couple of friends who have done this over the last year or so and they didn’t seem to make a big stink about it. So I’m going to try not to as well. That’s why I want to keep this short.
Today I’m going to watch some sitcom finales. I don’t know exactly which ones yet, but there are a couple that come to mind. Then I’m going to eat dinner, meet up with a couple of friends, say a couple of goodbyes, come back to my apartment one last time, maybe drink a beer or two and then I will go to sleep. In the morning I will wake up, say a couple more goodbyes, and then depart.
I can say this because these are my last days of certainty. Come Saturday –and especially come Monday – I have no idea what will happen. And I’m comfortable with that. And to explain why, I’m going to briefly return to sitcoms.
The reason I love sitcoms so much is that I grew up watching them on TBS. Every day I would come home from school and watch a block of Friends, Seinfeld and Everybody Loves Raymond before doing my homework. And TBS had a very obvious scheduling plan: They played the episodes in order. When the show ended, they just started over. Most of the time, when they aired the finale it would be the last episode of a block. Then the next day, the first episode of the block would be the show’s pilot. So the day that followed every finale day when I was a child was pilot day. And in no sense is this logical. In no reality does a beginning follow an ending. Time is not that directly cyclical. But in my perfect sitcom reality, it was. There was no reason to feel sad about an ending, because a beginning was right around the corner.
So I feel zero sadness about my finale. Because I know my pilot is coming. And if there’s one thing you can know for certain it’s this: Whether it’s a good pilot or a bad one, I’ll be here on this site to review it.