As a “working professional” by day, I sometimes get to travel to exotic locations. Like Cleveland. That city was home for many years so it’s always nice to return, see old friends and hit old stomping grounds. Old stomping grounds like Irish Bars that always, always do me in.
But this time it turned out a little different and I’m still smiling about the randomness of life.
When I travel I often wander through the airport wondering if I’ll see anyone I know. This whole 6 degrees of Kevin Bacon means I’m bound to run into that guy someday, right? I can’t remember ever seeing anyone I know, but this week someone saw me.
I grew up in a small town in Wisconsin. Not like Iowa small, but small. I have one sister, 5 years younger than me, at least by school age standards. We lived in a great neighborhood with tons & tons of kids, several we were very close to and were almost raised in their houses as much as they were raised in ours. Then there were some other kids in the ‘hood. You knew they lived nearby but they weren’t part of your core group. Ages varied drastically in the ‘hood, but we all “knew of” each other.
So fast forward to this week. I’m in Cleveland for work for a quick overnight. I’ve forced some of my cohorts to join me at said Irish bar for some drinks. We got a table on the sidewalk. We bantered. We bitched. We laughed. We cried (okay maybe just on the inside).
Then my phone rings. It’s my husband and kids to say goodnight. All’s normal to this point. As I’m saying goodnight to my son, I see a guy has stopped on the sidewalk and is asking my cohorts “Does she have a sister named Jamie?*” I do. I do not recognize this guy, but how does he know 1). I have a sister 2.) her name ?? I guess he also asked “Is she from Wisconsin?” but I missed that first question.
I quickly say goodbye to my kids and in a bit of Great Lakes Octoberfest induced haze, in a matter of a few short seconds, I realize it’s Jason Fenskeson.* A kid that grew up around the corner and up the hill. He was in my sister’s class, or at least closer in age, to my sister. I know his name. And he’s randomly picking me out, on a sidewalk, in a town neither of us live in, as he’s randomly walking by the bar.
Come to find out, just like me, he’s in town for work. Lives in a big city out on the East Coast. We share a few more stories (or so my Great Lakes Octoberfest induced mind tells me) and off he goes as quickly as he came by. I spent the next 24 hours simply saying Jason Fenskeson*, thinking of my old ‘hood, remembering what a good time we all had on big wheels and green machines, playing kick the can or kick ball in the dead end. We had our core group and we were a kick-ass bunch of kids!
So thank you, Jason, for recognizing me and saying hello some 21+ years later. A simple question “Does she have a sister named Jamie?” and a 5 minute conversation brought me a lot of smiles and I’m still shocked by the randomness of it all. Things like this need to happen more often!
Still wondering though, when do I run into Kevin Bacon?
(*names changed drastically to protect the innocent)