One Degree of Separation (Day 308)

She lived across the hall from me in my freshman year of college. And there she is, almost thirty years later, standing behind me, calling my name.

We haven’t seen each other since our last college reunion about five years ago. We caught up then, discovered we lived in the same city but didn’t make plans to get together. Both of our lives were busy.  My busy is easier to schedule around. Her busy is as an eye surgeon with a tight schedule.

Tonight was the 50th birthday of a good friend of my husband’s and mine. We’ve known her husband for twenty years; we’ve known her for ten. We manage to see each other fairly often despite our busy lives. The birthday girl is a busy plastic surgeon.

It ends up the busy plastic surgeon and the busy eye surgeon have worked together, in the same practice, for fifteen years. Thus, the eye surgeon, my freshman hallmate, is close friends with the plastic surgeon, my friend of ten years.

How is it that in all of the conversations I’ve had with the birthday girl about her work, we never figured out that she worked with somebody I once knew well? Of course, there is no reason why it would have come up.

For the first few moments, my freshman hallmate and I had trouble saying much more than, “I can’t believe you are good friends with her. I can’t believe you’re here.” Eventually, though, we got into a deeper conversation about our lives. And we reminisced about a time in our lives when we were so young, less than a year older than my younger child and her only child, who both will be heading off to their freshman year of college next Fall.

More and more I seem to cross paths with old friends, unexpectedly. I suppose that makes sense since the more life you’ve had, the more people you know. The more people you know, the more likely it is that you will unexpectedly bump into one of them.

Another aging plus: get to see old friends and step back in time for a short while before returning to the here and now.


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