No, I wish I could say this blog is about my waistline or the number my bathroom scale reads. Although with my marathon training - even as sporadic as it is - those two numbers are coming down.
Seriously, though, this post is about the world. Last summer, I wrote about my family’s trip to Montauk and how we met a mother, her friend and their kids and how the mother and her son live in New Jersey. They live in a town not too far away from where we are. It struck me, then, as funny and odd in a “what a coincidence!” sort of way. Even before then, however, I’d already started to believe that there aren’t any true coincidences. Every event and meeting however seemingly insignificant at the time will have some sort of meaning and merit later on. Experience has led me to believe this.
Well, today, another one of those faux coincidences happened again. I don’t know the significance of it - yet - but it also reinforced how small the world really is - or has become - and how much smaller it is still becoming. With the internet and all sorts of social media, especially Twitter, the world has shrunk. We connect with people instantly and through avenues like Twitter it’s even easier to meet ‘strangers.’ I put strangers in quotes because sometimes people aren’t really complete strangers anymore.
I’m on Twitter - I think the proper phrase is ‘I have a Twitter’ - and I’m there to promote myself as a writer and to hopefully generate some buzz about my work and writing endeavours. If you’re not familiar with Twitter, a person sets up an account, has some kind of username, follows other Tweeters (aka Twitterers) and is followed by other members of the Twitterverse as well. In my case, many are other writers and readers and we read, attend and follow many of the same books, blogs and conferences. Often, as an event draws near, we tweet about our excitement, what workshops we’re going to attend and things like that. Sometimes, people arrange to meet and those virtual friends become in-person friends. And they address each other by their Twitter handles, which makes it all one big game. So, in this regard, the world has truly gotten smaller.
With social media and the internet, we can see easily how things have gotten closer. At 43, I feel that I’m in that in-between generation; the one that manages to exist on both sides of the internet age and the smart phone revolution. I wouldn’t think, then, that meeting someone for the first time in-person would make things so small. But, then again, what do I know? I met my neighbour’s ex-wife today to find out that she grew up in the town where I teach and knows many of the people I know from where I did my senior year of high school (Seton Hall Prep) and where I work. I know a couple of the teachers she’d had and some of her classmates who ended up teaching in the district they attended. To make things more intimate, more meaningful, one of those classmates who is now a teacher is one of my best friends.
This kind of thing is probably something that’s happened to you many times. I’ve met people before who’ve known people I know but I was introduced to them by a mutual friend or at an event or occupation that we all have in common. With my neighbour’s ex, however, there wasn’t any kind of obvious connection potential.
Perhaps, only now, I’ve started to open my eyes and observe the world more clearly; observe the world at all. Maybe it’s always been this way. Then again, maybe it hasn’t. Either way, it makes for good writing material and it seems to be bringing people together. What do you think?