I am quite certain that Walt Disney came up with the theme after spending time in New York. It can feel like a small world if you run into someone in Pobunk, Nowhere, but the big city intensifies the small world feeling because it seems like it should be less likely to run into a random person from your present or past in such a crowded, busy place, where skyscrapers dominate the skyline reducing you to a figurative needle in a concrete haystack.
Yet small world tendencies are so New York. Aside from coming into daily contact with almost every culture on the planet within 22.7 square miles, over the last year Terrence and I have shared separate A-train reunions (1 and 2), my co-worker Jenny and I met a guy at Bryant Park Café who had been an elementary school student in West Chester under Jenny’s mother, I discovered a second or third-ish cousin (by marriage) works with me in another division of the same company (3), my co-worker Scott went to high school in North Carolina with my best friend (4), I recently found an old friend from my high school # 1 town (Camp Lejeune) who is living right across the Hudson in Bergen County, my best friend ran into an old classmate from our North Carolina college on the subway, a former colleague from my days in NC higher education administration got a job two blocks away from my office … and within the last few weeks:
While I was in my high school #2 town (Asheville) over Thanksgiving, my old classmate Ben and I realized over a beer in a North Carolina bar that we had seen the same stealth bomber flying over New York City on the same day in 2006. I had, in fact, randomly included my sighting from the 167th Station in the Bronx in a blog post (5), and he had been visiting New York two Septembers ago and had seen it glide over Central Park that very same day.
Iris and I left our respective offices (at 42nd Street and 34th Street) during rush hour and ended up on the exact same uptown no. 1 train when I switched from an express at 96th Street. Granted she was on her way to my apartment and we had coordinated our departures to arrive in Harlem around the same time, but the trains run more frequently at rush hour so the chances of meeting on the same car become even less.
I received texts from my secret service buddy and Brian when they ended up in the same midown diner as Iris at 4 a.m. And I received another text from my sorority sister Tiffany when she met Iris for the first time via Iris' former Brooklyn roommate (Iris just moved to a luxury highrise in Harlem this week).
I am frequently reminded how small the big city is, and that is something to love when the big city can just as frequently make you feel so small.
"Things I Love" Thursdays are inspired by "I Love New York" (BNY, February 14, 2007).