On the subject of serendipity:
My niece and I had taken the train all the way down to South Ferry, trying to find the New York Unearthed Museum, which we'd read had all kinds of dug-up relics from all over the city, including the infamous Five Points district (of Gangs of New York fame). Though having an address, I couldn't find it. We wandered a couple of blocks and then asked two women about to cross a street if they knew.
One of the two women was wearing a big winter coat, with a fuzzy fur-trimmed hood. I could hardly see her face. She was very helpful, almost overly helpful. She wasn't sure where it was but gave me her best guess with explicit instructions, lots of pointing this way and that. When I thanked her, she smiled this huge smile, and as I turned to walk away, I realized and told my niece, "I think that was Natalie Portman!"
My niece, eye-roller extraordinaire, did her eye-rolling thing and assured me it wasn't. But come on: Natalie Portman has an unmistakable smile. After seeing it, I realized how much this lady's voice sounded just like hers too. I mean, exactly like it. And Natalie Portman lives in New York, at least part of the time, right? And she also seems like she's a very nice person, the type of person who would stop to give detailed directions on the street (even though the directions we got weren't at all helpful in the end).
Later on that night is when my niece had stayed in the apartment with Abe so that Ted and I could go out to dinner for New Year's. On our way home, we stopped into a Food Emporium for milk. As we were checking out, I saw Natalie Portman's face on the cover of Marie Claire.
Serendipity, right? I took a photo of it with my phone and sent it to my niece. She probably rolled her eyes. I guess I'll have to wait til heaven to ask God if that was really Natalie Portman who gave us directions on a street near Battery Park in Manhattan. I do think it was.