Sunday, 26 October 2014

When the World Gets a Little Smaller

I find it kind of funny how the often times bizarre coincidences that bring people from our past or connections from our past into the present are explained away with the phrase, "It's a small world".  As if we are bound to reconnect with people and our past because we live in a world limited by size.

Perhaps the saying is spot on and that is all there is to the explanation of such events.  I wonder though if there is more then coincidence at work?  Is our past calling out to us when these seemingly random quirky acts occur?  Is there a cosmic or universal message to be deciphered from the bizarre? Or perhaps that is just the musings of a wistful middle aged man reflecting on his youth?

As I might have mentioned here before I work at the Customer Service Desk as a supervisor and book keeper for a Grocery Store in Upstate New York.  I grew up on Long Island in a little town called Mastic along the South Shore of the Island during the 1980s and into the early 2000s.  On occasion when I try to make small talk with our guests I will ask them about their accents and where they come from.  I am particularly aware of Long Island accents having lived there for over 26 years of my life.  So it is not uncommon for me to pick up on a Long Island accent and inquire as to where someone came from on the Island.

Such a case took place this past week when I asked an Asian woman at our guest service desk if she grew up on the Island.  She mentioned that she had, and that a lot of people find it surprising to meet an Asian woman with a Long Island, New York accent.  When I asked her where she was from she said, "I grew up in Mineola in Nassau County".  I told her I grew up in Suffolk County.  Now that is typically where my conversation would end and the customer and I would wish each other a nice day.

As it turned out though, on this day my Customer Service Manager, whom I've been working with for a few months now, walked past the desk and happened to catch part of our conversation.  She said to the Asian woman, "You grew up on Long Island? Where did you grow up, I'm from the Island too?"  She repeated the answer she had given me.  Then Victoria my service manager said, "I grew up in Mastic".  At this point the poor guest who I had been chatting with got shunted out of the conversation when I butted in and said, "I grew up in Mastic!". 

Victoria: "So did you go to William Floyd High School". 

Jon: "Absolutely.  I graduated from William Floyd in 1994."


Jon: "No you didn't, You couldn't have!"  (but of course she had no reason to lie to me, I just found it that hard to believe).

William Floyd High School


So as it turns out, Victoria, my customer service manager at my work place and I, who grew up 225 miles away from Clifton Park (where we both now work), were classmates and members of the same graduating class at William Floyd High School back in 1994, even though we did not know each other back then.

We had a lot of fun reminiscing about places near the school and classmates and teachers who we both knew this past week even though we did not know one another back then.  I have lost contact with pretty much all my high school friends over the two decades since I graduated.  More through distance in time and space then because of any falling out between us. 

So I just feel that maybe this bizarre coincidence happened for a reason and it might be an opportunity to reconnect to some of the wonderful people I knew and was friends with in High School.  Perhaps there is something in their lives or something in my life right now that could use that reconnection to the past? 

Or maybe it's just a small world after all.

I know that many people have similar stories of these seemingly bizarre reconnections to past people or places, some that probably defy logic far more than my recent example.  It's not all too far fetched to think that two people who were in the same place 20 years ago end up in the same place 20 years later.  225 miles is far, but we're not talking about oceans apart here either.  I would love if our readers might share any of their stories relative to an unusual reconnection to their pasts.  Did those instances lead to a deeper more meaningful reconnection to places and people or were they just blips in time that brought out a laugh or a fond memory? 

No matter what my recent reconnection leads to whether it be good friends from long ago or just a dead end, it has certainly been a fun trip down memory lane this past week.  I believe Victoria experienced that too.  The novelty of that might wear off and nothing may come of it, but maybe, just maybe something is telling me I should reach out to some of the people in my past? 

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