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Small Worlds


It’s funny, sometimes, to realize how small the world is.

Last night, I was out to dinner with my best friend, and we saw a mutual acquaintance of ours. Let’s call her Betty. We all parted on strange terms, but nothing acrimonious. We haven’t seen each other in about seven years. A small lifetime, I suppose.

At the end of the meal was when I noticed her. There was no way she couldn’t have seen the two of us, given where she was sitting. She said nothing. She didn’t smile. She didn’t acknowledge us, but she had the look of someone deeply put off (Betty was never a particularly happy person).

I did not say hello, because she was clearly avoiding eye contact. I don’t know why. And I don’t really care. It was just…strange. It reminded me of how small the world is, and how I always seem to run into people I don’t want to talk to.

Why is that? Some secret rule of the cosmos? I don’t know. It happens a lot.

Facebook is good for getting a glance at people you haven’t seen in ten years. Or more. I’m guilty of that. I’ll search for an old high school friend out of curiosity. Nostalgia, perhaps. Occasionally, I’m compelled to send a message to say hi. Others have done that to me, too. Sometimes, we rekindle a friendship, but only if we parted well. I’m not going to accept the invite from anyone who was overly mean, catty, or crappy. Why invited that into my life?

I’ll say it again, though: it’s funny, sometimes, how small the world is. And that counts for something. Because who reaches out, picks up a phone, or drops by – even if it might be awkward – matters. Who chooses to reach out with a genuine sense of [whatever], that matters. It says a lot.

Today, I’ve been thinking about who steps up to the plate when things are tough, or awkward, or both. Who hasn’t. Who I wish would, sometimes. It’s an odd thing to consider. Because when the chips are down, or things are bonkers, there are people we’d like to hear from. People who are part of our past, people who have the ability to make us smile, despite time and distance. Sometimes, that’s needed. A simple, “Hey, I heard about [whatever],” phone call can turn the world a bit and might it righter. (I’m shocked to see that Word believes ‘righter’ is a word. Is it really?)

So, yes, I know how small the world can be. And yet, despite all that – not quite small enough. (Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to figure out a way to remove “It’s a Small World After All” from my brain. DAMN YOU, DISNEY! *shakes fist*)

  1. April 30, 2011 at 7:28 am

    This is very thought-provoking. I’ve noticed that often those who reach out during a time when “reach-outs” are expected are those you least expect it from! I’ve also noticed that the most generous folk are often those who have the least…while my “rich” friends are awfully cheap when it comes to gifts, etc. But that’s another blog for another time… 🙂

    Btw, my bff from Chicago is visiting, and we were looking at FB, and she said, “Who’s Ali Trotta? She always makes nice comments on your page.” I explained that she is one of the nicest people I know…whom I’ve never met! 🙂

  2. May 1, 2011 at 11:20 pm

    lol that song is quite the annoying…but yeah i get what you mean. this weekend was on campus for alumni weekend at my college and while sitting in the bookstore waiting for my friend to call to meet up, i saw my old freshman year roommate walk in. she didn’t notice me and i didn’t notice it was her at first, but it made my stomach turn because we did NOT get along and we did not part on a good note even by the time it was senior year and graduation was approaching and we finally had to take one class together. oi.

    • Ali
      May 3, 2011 at 8:33 am

      Ack! I hate moments like that. They’re so awkward. Good to know I’m not the only only who’s felt that way, though!

  3. greekphysique
    May 4, 2011 at 2:42 pm

    One thing that’s really humbled me is that often, when I am in trouble or threatened, it is my smallest, weakest friends who reach out to hold my hand. Remember the little story of the mouse and the lion? How the lion doesn’t believe the mouse can ever help him? I’ve found that my mice friends, the young and foolish, are actually my strongest allies and comforters. It’s been a lovely discovery, and humbling.

  4. May 4, 2011 at 4:34 pm

    Or… in the immortal words of Harry from “When Harry Met Sally”, “Of course, in a city of eight million people, you are bound to run into your ex wife.”

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