I never much believed in fate, but I'm wondering whether I should revisit that point of view.
When I moved to New York City recently, I wondered how Moki would react. I figured he'd be fine--after all, he's 7-1/2 years old, and as long as I'm around he is happy. I was wrong. He had a hard time adjusting to our new environment, so I decided to hire a dog-walker. Belgians are naturally neurotic (forgive me for anthropomorphizing), and he had issues when I walked him: lunging at other dogs, lunging at random people, sometimes even lunging at baby carriages. He'd even lunged at my own daughter, which was shocking and upsetting. All of that was verboten on busy city sidewalks. I asked around the neighborhood, but no one could recommend a great dog-walker, so I did what I always do--went online and found multiple dog walking services. Then, "extremely scientifically," I chose the two with the "most adorable" websites and requested meetings with each of them. Only NY Tails responded. We met at my apartment the next day. Paulo, co-owner of the service and originally from Brazil, arrived at my door--tall, strong, smiling, knowledgable, confident--he and Moki got along great from the get-go. He took Moki for a walk to see for himself, and half an hour later he returned, reporting that Moki lunged at no one and was not reactive to dogs, people, bikes, or anything else. The problem, he asserted, appeared to be me. I didn't disagree. Moki has always been my over-the-top protector. I hired Paulo on the spot.
For the next several days, Paulo walked Moki, and all was well. Then he told me that Moki's "permanent" dog-walker, Andres Fonseca, would be starting. I was a little disappointed, wondering whether Moki would be so well behaved with his new walker. Paulo told me not to worry. The following Monday, Andres buzzed into my building. I opened my door, and his 100-watt smile lit up the place. In the foyer sit my harp, my cello, a full-sized keyboard, a guitar, and a music stand, not to mention bunches of sheet music. After we exchanged pleasantries and Moki ran over to Andres, licking him and wagging his tail, Andres asked, "Are you a musician?" Despite all the obvious musical accoutrements, no one had ever asked that before. "Yes, I am," I said. "Me too," he responded. "Oh, what do you play?" I asked, excited that a fellow musician had entered my dog's life. "Drums and percussion," he said.
Andres had a pleasant accent, and I asked him whether he was also from Brazil. "Colombia," he said. "Oh," I said, "My old friend Francisco is from Colombia. He's a musician too--a classical guitarist." Andres lit up. "He lives in Boston, and I lived there for years," I said. Andres replied, "I moved here from Boston. I graduated from Berklee." Well, for anyone who doesn't know, Berklee College of Music is one of the most renowned music schools in the country. I told him how impressed I was, and that he must be very good. I mentioned that my friend Francisco had gone to Berklee for one year. Andres mentioned that he was into jazz and also Colombian music. I told Andres I was sorry he had to be a dog-walker to pay the bills, but he told me he loves dogs, so it's okay. (I can tell from Moki's behavior with him that Andres loves dogs.) In terms of the dog walking, Moki loves Andres, and Andres usually walks him with Rubix, a small dog I thought Moki would "eat." (But Moki does not "eat" Rubix. They are fine together.)
Then it occurred to me that a good friend and writing colleague, Marlena Baraf, originally from Panama, is writing a series of pieces about Latinos in America. She's published these in several places, including The Huffington Post. I asked her if she'd be interested in interviewing Andres, and I asked him if he'd be interested in being interviewed. They were both enthusiastic, and the interview took place. Marlena was very impressed with Andres, and she and I told him to let us know about any gigs he's playing in the area, because we will go to hear him. He is delighted to get some publicity for his music. He gave us each a CD, and you can also hear him on Youtube. So, what's my point? Had Moki not "acted up" when we moved to the city, had I not thought NY Tails website was "adorable," had Paulo not assigned Andres to walk Moki, had he not said anything about all of my instruments and his music, had I not told him about my Colombian friend, had I not known Marlena was writing about Latinos...
Is it all fate? Or just coincidence? Will she publish a piece that gets someone's interest and increases Andres' opportunity in the city? I certainly hope so, because he's a cool person and a great musician.