So here's the thought, on some level I believe I have an almost supernatural tendency to run into people I know when I travel. I know, this happens to everyone but I feel like it happens much more to me than to others.
Last year, in New York, I was speaking about this to my friend, about how I run into people I know everywhere or meet people I don't know with odd connections to myself or people I know. Not a few hours later, on the subway, I see a sloppy drunk talking to some random other drunk. "I know that blond guy," I whispered to my friend. "You do not!" she replied. Maybe I'm just mistaken, looking for connections everywhere, as any good paranoiac does, I thought. The drunk was grossly eating a shawerma and, after spilling it on himself and the floor and scarfing down the rest, he stood up, walked to the other end of the car, opened the door, and threw his wrapper out of the moving train. Disgusting I thought, glad I don't know him. But on his way back to his seat I caught a good look at his face, and yes, I know him, hopefully he won't recognize me. A few seconds after sitting down, his arm shoots out at me, "YOU, I KNOW YOU! Cafe Express, Right?" He comes and sits next to me, spraying his shawerma saliva on me as he talks. We exchange a little information, he expresses his hatred of his job and obvious disdain for mine and my plan to study economics. I believe his exact words were "all economists I know are glorified accountants." Which happens to be my current profession, accounting. When I tell him I'm just in New York to help my friend move he gives her a pretty vile undressing with his eyes, best as he can while sitting on the other side of me. We get off at the same station and, unable to cut the interaction short for some reason, I follow him outside where he's catching his bus. Thankfully, we're able to leave him here to the rest of his drunken path home.
Then, this year, I went to New York again. Again I stayed with that friend who didn't believe me. Walking from the train to her place I cross paths with another friend, luckily someone I wanted to see this time, someone I forgot was in New York. In a neighborhood she said she generally avoids. We decided to have lunch the following day, which was nice. Not as much of a story as the other but 2 for 2.
Then, at most four weeks later, I'm in Portland, drunk, smoking, sitting on a low wall on my way back to the youth hostel. In something of a depressed mood. three women are walking towards me and not wanting to stare like the drunk I was, I looked away, past them. "Dylan?!" one of them says. Not just a friend, but someone else I missed while in New York, visiting Portland. Three for three.
So I try to avoid thinking that the world has some inscrutable plan, or my chi or whatever draws people I know to myself, or any one of the other magical thoughts I've had regarding my life, regarding this most stupid of "super powers." I can tell myself this just happens but it repeats and repeats and repeats. When I think somewhat rationally about this, I figure the fact that I still look almost exactly the same as I did in high school has a lot to do with it, or at least being recognizable doesn't hurt. But how often do any of us really think rationally?