Friday, March 03, 2006

The world is impossibly small

A week or so ago, I got a note from my good friend Daniel Gohlke. He works the Help Desk at Hunton Williams law firm, and was writing to tell me that he'd just deployed a new laptop to a fellow named Amos. At the time, I thought Daniel was just being weird.

He sent a link to the guy's corporate profile, at which I dutifully glanced before going on with my day. I didn't think anything of it for several days, but then I remembered that I had met a fellow named Amos in 1997 in Paris.

Unlikely, thought I, that it should be the same fellow, as that particular Amos was from North Carolina, and how freakishly small could the world possibly be?

So it gnawed at my mind for a couple of days. I went back and looked at the guy's corporate profile. His picture looked just vaguely familiar, so I checked to see if there were any other clues. Sure enough: he graduated from UNC in 1998.

OK, that's one coincidence, along with the fact that there can't be too many people named Amos. So I googled his name, and found that he'd played guitar in an "acoustic garage band" in North Carolina. Aha! Now this is getting closer, as I remembered my Parisian friend as being typical of most young musicians of the time.

Finally overcome with curiosity, I wrote back to Daniel and asked him to find out if this Amos fellow had been in Paris in 1997. Within an hour, I had confirmation that I had, indeed, found one of my travelling friends from that wild 37-day tour of Europe. In Richmond. Freak-show!

Over the years, I've kept up (off & on) with Kirsten Roeters, and once got a letter from a yankee girl I met in Munich, but those connections were sought out, and I had the benefit of knowing their home addresses. This is just random.

What I recall of the 2 or 3 days I spent hanging out with Amos is very slight. I was finishing my whirl-wind tour, was perpetually exhausted, and had become the grizzled traveler that new travelers look up to (it's very strange: when you travel alone, you go very quickly from being clueless to being a guru). I was staying at a hostel in the 5th Arrondissement, a very popular hostel with Ilsa and Virginie at the front desk, and had been reading in the lobby (probably Lolita or Dogbert's Guide to Management) when a troupe of newly-arrived Americans traipsed through the lobby, trying to figure out where to go for food.

As I'd already spent several days in Paris at the beginning of my journey, I remembered several good eateries, so I offered some suggestions, and out we went. Amos and I hit it off immediately, and it was he and I who stayed out the latest of the whole group, though I don't remember quite what we did. For some reason, I picture us sitting on the steps of the Pantheon very late one night, but that's about it.

I was so exhausted during those last few days that I took my final day in Europe to simply sleep. I didn't do anything else during the whole day, but my last memory of people in Paris was of Amos (and regretting that Virginie mon Ange was not working the front desk the morning I left).

It's good to see you again, sir!

1 comment:

famos said...

Yup, super small. And interconnected.