March 4, 2007

The Biggest Little City.

Sometimes life surprises me.

Lately I have been feeling like I am on a 24 hour cycle of emotional chaos. One day I feel great, the next, shitty. I knew that it wouldn’t be easy moving like this and so I am prepared, but it still gets to me. Mostly, I have been feeling sad because I am not satisfied with the Aikido training I am getting (or not getting) here, and so this past week, I haven’t really been going very much. The excess of free time and energy makes me realize how alone I feel in this city of over half a million people, especially coming from a place where I couldn’t go out for a cup of coffee or buy groceries without running into someone I know. You know, Reno is as they say, The Biggest Little City in the World (with emphasis on little).

Or so I thought. Today, though, the universe proved to me that the Boston, nay, the world, is small too, and that I have no reason to feel alone.

As has become our Sunday ritual, Joe and I decided to go snoop around for a little bit before meeting Nan (she works on Sundays) for some debauchery. Joe decided that he would meet me at the T-stop nearest my house and we would ride the train into downtown to go book shopping. Since I left just about every book I owned (save my textbooks) in Reno, I welcomed the opportunity.

On the train, Joe and I chatted about our 2nd (and hopefully final) trip to Ikea Hell, when at the Roxbury stop, a bunch of his students got on the train. If I failed to mention this before, Joe teaches history at a local charter high school, and his students worship him. I would too, if I had a teacher that talked to me like an adult and expected from me the same when I was in high school. I visited his class once and it made me really, really want to teach there. But, I digress. So, Joe and I talked to his students for a few minutes before we had to get off the train. They were going to a Celtics game or something.

As I was walking off the train, I heard a voice behind me call “Erica.” Since I have lived here for only about a month or so, I was expecting to turn around and see one of my co-workers, or one of Joe and Nan’s friends--my people repertoire in Boston is kind of slim. But, as I turned around, I could not immediately pinpoint from where my name had issued, but I had a feeling it was coming from a younger man with a slight beard and a green jacket whom I had noticed while getting on the train. I stared for a second. Who the hell called my name? And then it hit me—this slightly bearded, green jacked person was none other than my friend Craig, whom I hadn’t seen in years. I hesitated—do I get back on the train, or do I just let him go?

“Joe, we have to get back on the train,” I said, tugging his arm.

“No, I’ll get off here,” Craig said, as he gathered up his bag. We both just kind of stared at each other, like neither could believe what was actually happening.

To put this in some perspective, Craig was my summer friend when I was growing up. My parents were good friends with his, and his older brother and sister used to babysit my brother and me during the summer every day while my parents were at work. Since our house was next door to a pool, my brother and I would swim just about every day, and just about every day, Craig would be there too. We would all do crazy dives off the diving board trying to impress each other, and swim for hours on end. I was always sad when the summer ended, for I knew I wouldn’t really get to see Craig during the school year (we went to different schools). Eventually, as we got older, we started going to the pool less and doing older-kid things more, and we would go years without seeing each other. It was always nice to run into Craig, though. The last time I saw him was at his sister’s wedding about 3 or 4 years ago. Eventually, his parents moved to Texas, and last I heard he was trying to get into medical school. I figured I would never see him again.

So, imagine my surprise when he just so happened to be on the same train car, on the same Sunday at the same time in a city 3000 miles away from where we grew up. And, as it turns out, we live in the same neighborhood. And, he is here getting his M.D.-Ph.D, which is sort of similar to what I do. Go on, universe. Make a mockery of me. That will teach ME to feel alone…

As if that wasn’t enough (it is going to take me a couple of weeks to wrap my head around the fact that I live in the same neighborhood as my childhood friend), not twenty minutes later, Joe and I ran into our friends Richard and Jooyoung at a cross walk. So much for being anonymous in Beantown. So, I guess the next time I’m feeling alone, I should just ride the T around for a little bit and run into someone I know. Or maybe I should just call my friends (both old and newly re-acquainted) like a normal person and get over myself.

1 comment:

Kangles said...

Wait for it..... Soon you'll be a famous in Cambridge as you are in Reno. I just read about your daily adventures for the past week or so, and I am happy to hear that life is falling into place for you. I wish you nothing but the best!!!

Email me sometime and let me know what you've been up to in Boston:

Talk to you soon :)