Monday, August 20, 2007

where I don’t quote The Police. At all.

Man Meets Wife Via Message in a Bottle

I love random things like the above; seriously, what are the odds of meeting somebody really nifty via a message in a bottle? Or, for that matter, via a Post-It Note left on a sidewalk? Or, if you want to be superrandom, how about a wrong phone number, where you never intended to meet anybody new at all? I had a dream two nights ago where I misdialed a number, and a guy at the other end answered, "Hello, how may I help you on this maddening and splendid evening?" I don't remember much else beyond that, sadly, but it reinforced my sense of fun about chance meetings. Also, I will now answer the phone that way after dark, no matter who calls. You can test me on this.

Also also, I remember that I got a phone call during my freshman year at Michigan from a random guy, who said he lived in Ann Arbor and was just dialing around because he was bored and looking for fun people to talk to. I was in a rush at the time, so I didn't stop to chat, but afterward he apparently worked his way through my entire dorm (South Quad, for you nosybodies), ultimately talking for an hour or so with my friend Marla, who lived a floor below me. And whom I just saw last night for the first time in six years. Which is what got me started thinking about random connectivity in the first place.

This reminds me, I've always had a bit of an obsession with dreaming about a conversation with a friend, and then continuing that conversation with the same friend after waking up and seeing them in reality. The key here is that the friend has to have had the identical dream, so I know We Shared Something. I even did a little photo class project about this in my final year at Michigan, which turned out splendidly, thank you very much.

Back to random connectivity: you gotta love a mistyped e-mail address. About a month before New Orleans was hit by Katrina, I received an e-mail from the Chemistry department at Tulane University. The woman who wrote the e-mail told me that my paycheck was ready to be picked up or mailed, whichever I preferred, and it was clearly not a spam hoax. After noodling around on Google for a bit, I realized that there is a Dr. Astrid Phillips in the field of chemistry, and clearly she must have done a little academic song and dance over at Tulane. Ethical person that I am, it never occurred to me to say, "Sure, send me the moolah pronto!" Instead, I informed the lady of her error , and she apologized, saying she had left off a single letter from the e-mail address, and she thanked me for my patience.

Which reminds me, I may start an Astrid Phillips club. You can only be a member if your name is Astrid Phillips, and I already know (thanks to Google) that there will definitely be more than just a couple of members, difficult as that may be to believe. We will get together every once in a while, drinking tea and discussing highbrow matters. Maybe we'll even get manicures, and then go rob a bank. That would be awesome.

And hey, let's not overlook random Googling, as in the phenomenal case of Rory Blyth. Call me a romantic, or call me a person in need of serious therapy, but this really warms the cockles of my heart. And I'm sure we all know that a cockle is an edible, burrowing bivalve mollusk with a strong ribbed shell (thank you, Oxford American Dictionary OSX widget), so you know I'm serious.

Getting back to Marla, because it always comes back to Marla: I finally got to see her (and her charming man) last night, and I find it fascinating how comfortable it all was. I mean, I hadn't seen her in about six years, and when we grabbed dinner last night, it was like the intervening years had never happened. Amazing what a comfy friendship fit can do. We had met during freshman orientation, where we shared an instant bond because we both loved "Lois and Clark: The New Adventures of Superman," and there you are. She just took the bar exam a couple of weeks ago, and now she's at Disneyland.

I haven't done anything random today yet, but let's see what I can cook up.


  1. [ Original comment from Astrid imported from MySpace ]

    I like your "Free Tibet while supplies last" headline on your profile -- reminds me of my UMichigan days (yup, in Thera's "crappy state"), when our campus humor magazine "The Gargoyle" did some spoof ads. There was one which still inspires hilarity in me on my darkest days: "FREE MUMIA / with purchase of Mumia of equal or lesser value." I'm actually laughing as I type this, dork that I am.

    But! Let us get to your epic comment, which deserves an epic reply. First of all, thank you. I am touched that you would a) read my ramblings, b) take them seriously enough to reply, and c) bare your heart in such a touching, poignant fashion. You make a great point, namely that your 'random' meet-cute with Thera ended up becoming endlessly refined, until the point where it was no longer a truly random encounter. However, and this is the part where I'm playing devil's advocate, *all* random meetings subsequently go through the same process of refinement. This process does not remove the validity of the initial meeting's randomness, or so I feel. My aim in my post was to present Astridian Wonderment (tm) at the ability to initially cross paths with a potential soul mate in an entirely unaided way, e.g. no introduction via a mutual acquaintance or meeting each other in the workplace, all later social refinement processes be damned.

    To get back to you and Thera, I'm sorry to hear that you each had to maintain your own life path, and couldn't find a way to make said paths merge. This seems a common problem, but knowing this doesn't make the situation any better, I'm sure. You guys have chosen to remain friends, and perhaps keep the door open for a future chance...? Consider my cockles rewarmed.

    I would argue that English Breakfast could be TERRIFIC grounds for a great relationship, mister. You just haven't had the right cup of English Breakfast.

    And thank you for the kind words about my writing; I consider it a grand compliment coming from you, since you're a terrific writer yourself. I do feel that blogging, while a grand excuse for indulging in one's narcissism (guilty as charged), is also a great way to refine one's ability to communicate effectively. Or so I like to tell myself.

    Also, my name is Astrid Phillips, so no worries -- you got my name right after all.

    Your regard for your "Return of the Jedi" bedspread is to the point of the unseemly, but I wish you both well.

    Also, you're a no-good fish pirate.

    Tah back atcha,

    Posted by Astrid on August 27, 2007 - Monday at 1:24 AM

  2. [ Original comment from Astrid imported from MySpace ]

    Okay, your thingie with Thera was not truly random. You win, I suck. :)

    Posted by Astrid on August 28, 2007 - Tuesday at 1:02 AM