I love Chicago because it is a big city full of food, things to buy, and strangers. I don't care too much about my appearance, but I especially love that when I go to the grocery store in my sweatpants and last night's make-up, I am not going to run into anyone who is going to judge me about it. Living my life surrounded by strangers is oddly freeing and while this may sound strange, it feels the opposite of isolating. Rather, everyone is my friend, or a person who's opinion I don't car about.
However, despite this city full of millions of people, there is this one guy I run into at least twice a year.
Let's be real. My Chicago is much smaller than the city itself. My life is concentrated on the north-east side, and so its not as big as I make it seem, but there are a lot of people in this part of the city.
At any rate, in January of 2007, I took two sessions of improv classes with this guy named Aaron. He was a perfectly nice guy, but he stopped coming to classes, sadly, and so he kind of faded from my memory. Until I saw him at a restaurant at some point in 2008. He was a waiter (though not mine) and we caught up for a few minutes, said good-bye and I did not give it another thought.
Well, lather, rinse, repeat this situation 2 - 3 more times a year for the past 3 years. Its at restaurants where he is working or in the busy streets on late nights or, as happened last night, on a bus in a neighborhood we've never run into each in before.
Last night we did not talk though. I saw him, and I am pretty sure he saw me, but neither of us made that first move, that first second of eye contact and engagement in conversation. Maybe we were both tired or had other things on our minds or maybe we just done with the acquaintanceship that we have not done too much to nurture, despite the world tossing us together time and time again.
At any rate, it never fails to delight me that I see him so frequently without any warning or planning. There are people that I make plans with in Chicago that I manage to see less than I see him. It gives me a chance to remember that no matter how big a city I live in, the world is so small.