World Gradually Collapsing, Film At 11

Every morning on the train, I have a tendency to bury myself in something; over the last month, it’s been a Sudoku book I picked up from a local Japanese bookstore. I try to complete one puzzle from my home stop to the one I need to transfer at; this gives me about ten minutes. I also traditionally have my iPod on, thus making me a little ball of puzzle-solving isolationism.

As you might guess, this makes me completely oblivious to the world around me. As evidenced by the IM message I got about an hour after I got into work:

*”dandickinson is wearing a red shirt and doing su doku puzzles on the train.”*

Sure enough, [one of the bloggers I’m friendly with]( had gotten on the train in Astoria, sat pretty much across from me with his girlfriend, and spent much of the ride debating whether or not they should say hi. They weighed against it, figuring I was in my “morning space”.

It would be safe to assume I will be considerably more alert on the subway from now on.

Later: my phone rings at my desk. It’s a vendor, one I’ve been trying to work a purchase through, but where the purchase process is stalled due to red tape and decision making. This isn’t the first time the vendor has called trying to check up, and I don’t blame them.
In the course of the conversation (which involved giving a very brief overview of why the purchase is taking so long), the vendor says:
“You know, I just visited campus a few months ago – I love that sidewalk in front of that one building, the one that makes noise if you step on it right?”

I ponder this quickly – there’s nothing like that at the Medical College; there’s not even much of a campus to visit. Did he mean the Ithaca campus? What on the Ithaca campus would be musical…oh yeah, the area around Olin Library. I respond, stating that we’re not in Ithaca although I had gone there for undergrad and knew what he was talking about. I also mentioned that I had lived in the area for about ten years besides that.

He continued: “Oh yeah? That’s cool…I was there visiting a friend, she lives in Trumansburg…”

At this point, I can literally feel the universe collapsing slightly. I point out that I, in fact, lived in Trumansburg.

He continued: “Really? Wow…my friend’s last name is Ellis, Ca…”

He didn’t need to finish. Carmen? Sure, I remember her – and not just because she was two grades ahead of me and we had a couple classes together. No, it was because my very first job – just over ten years ago, now that I think about it – was working for her father, out of their house, at one of the very few web design places in the area.

I relay this, and then we had one of those magnificent pauses that come when you have such a coincidence naturally occur. He promised to say hi to her for me.

I smiled, promised to attempt to push the purchase through once more, and hung up.