It never ceases to amaze me just how small the world really is.
When I was a freshman in college, my friend Claire came to visit. She was a senior in high school at the time, lived in Boston and worked part-time at a coffee shop there.
We were hanging out in my dorm room when Bret, one of the guys who lived across the hall, came in. I introduced them and Bret commented on Claire’s t-shirt, which she had gotten at a concert in California.
“Were you at that concert?” asked Bret. “I was there, too!”
Then they both kind of looked at each other funny, sensing a deja vu moment.
It turned out that they had discussed this before – the past November, when Bret had traveled to Boston to spend Thanksgiving break with a friend’s family. He had walked into the coffee shop where Claire worked, she had been wearing that same t-shirt, and he had struck up the exact same conversation.
And somehow, they had both landed back in my little dorm room at the exact same moment, all those months later, with Claire wearing that exact same t-shirt.
OK, that’s one example. How about this one, which happened just last week.
We were on vacation in Maine. While Mom, Steve and I were sledding, Dad was standing at the bottom of the hill taking pictures and video (his hip replacement last year makes sledding kind of a bad idea for him).
A man and his two young sons joined us on the sledding hill. They had three sleds and we only had one, so the man offered me his sled, saying his was too tired from snowboarding all morning to trudge up and down the hill.
So he and my dad chatted at the bottom of the hill as Mom, Steve and I had sledding races with the two young boys.
At the bottom of the hill after one of our races, my Dad said to my Mom, “Guess who this guy lives three houses down from?”
The man’s neighbor ended up being my Mom’s Uncle Bob. My Dad and this man had just been talking about where they’re from, and the man had mentioned the town he lives in, which is the same town in which our Uncle Bob lives. My Dad had asked (thinking it was kind of a long shot) if this man knew our 80-year-old uncle, and it turned out that he did, indeed!
This next example of how small our world is really takes the cake, though.
Last month, Mom, Dad, Audrey and I went to see Cyrano de Bergerac in New York City. Driving down the Henry Hudson Parkway on the way into the city, we saw a huge billboard sign advertising Ouidad hair products.
Ouidad is a hairstylist based in NYC who specializes in curly hair. She has built an empire with her hair products and books for people with curly hair.
But before she became famous in the curl world, she was a high school student of my father’s in the 1970’s. He has followed her career through magazine and newspaper articles, and I actually remember visiting her salon in NYC in the early 1980’s during a family trip to the city.
So seeing her huge billboard on the Henry Hudson Parkway that day last month was pretty cool.
After we had seen the play that day, Mom, Dad, Audrey and I wanted to grab a quick bite to eat before leaving NYC and heading home. Audrey had lived on the Upper West Side when she lived in the city, so she wanted to take us to an Italian restaurant in her old neighborhood.
We drove up to 58th St. and found a parking spot near the restaurant. As we were walking on the sidewalk, all of a sudden we heard Dad, who was walking in front of us all, exclaim, “Ouidad!”
And right there, on the sidewalk of a busy street in New York City – a city of over 10 million people – we had run into Ouidad, the very person we were talking about earlier that day.
She was with her husband and another woman, and it took her a minute to recognize my Dad (hey, it had been over 20 years!)… but she was so surprised to have run into her old Math teacher right there on the city sidewalk, too!
We were all in such shock that we forgot to even mention that we had seen her billboard earlier that day, and had therefore been talking about her.
But it just serves to show you… you never know who you’re going to run into, no matter where you are!
Has anyone else had any serendipitous run-ins similar to these?