random encounters

The ingredients of a random encounter include:

  • unexpected variables that alter a course
  • a public or commercial space open to anyone
  • recognition
  • knowing people only in a specific context
  • freedom and means to choose the course of our day

Lately, I have encountered people out of context after ending up in spaces for reasons I was not anticipating:

  • a restaurant did not offer dessert, so we sought out another place
  • a 75% discount lured me to one place before I realized I had gone to the wrong place
  • a location of a new supermarket near my parent’s home made shopping for a return from an international safari easier

The delight and significance of these encounters are rooted in a reminder that we are not in control of our days. The chance encounters of public spaces cannot be oversold in a suburban life where most interactions are curated.

  • college friends had a reunion on a day in which other relationships appeared to be falling apart
  • a former student introduced her 4th baby who was excited to show the nail polish she had selected for a spa day
  • a father with his 4 year old son and I shared a love of poppadom as I was about to enter the Indian restaurant which was next door to the barbershop, before they continued down the sidewalk with a comb prominently stuck in the boy’s new cut

About jaclynfre

Recipe adventurer, fast walker, sporadic writer, aunt, sister and daughter
This entry was posted in Life and Culture and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to random encounters

  1. Debbie Lynn says:

    It’s true. I am always amazed at the outcomes when things don’t go as planned. It’s a powerful statement that fate guides our way. I enjoyed your story, Jaclyn. 🙂

    • jaclynfre says:

      Thanks so much for your kind thought. It’s a reminder of the privilege of knowing people in a variety of contexts. What I mean is that when I lived in Indonesia, I realized part of what was a bit exhausting and at the same time peacefully anonymous was searching for recognizable faces in a crowd of people whom you would have had no chance of having met before. Whereas living in a medium sized city where you play various roles in people’s lives over time . . . you accumulate more opportunities for random encounters. 🙂

  2. What a delightful sharing! You make me ready to notice and appreciate these chance encounters, when my “curated” life takes an unexpected turn! (And I love that phrase you coined- perfect.)

    • jaclynfre says:

      It’s intriguing to consider how and when I am able to participate in public spaces. I’m realizing more and more the value of them in strengthening patience as we strengthen ties with one another.

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