I just adore the (semi)randomness of life. I was down in Chelsea today on my way to the gym, and noticing that I was feeling somewhat low energy, decided to pop into the corner store in front of me to grab a Clif bar in advance of my workout. There in line was a guy who looked kinda familiar. He stared deeply into my eyes and said “Stephen? Wow!”
So, ok….clearly he recognized me. And he did look familiar, but I really couldn’t place him.
Then he said, “It is me, Marc.”
Hm…Marc…and then it hit me: We dated for 4 months in San Francisco around 1993. It was really stunning to run into someone from the distant past, I thought. He has been living in New York for the past 10 or so years.
I said, “Didn’t you move to Miami?”
“Atlanta,” he said. Whatever. How was I supposed to remember all that? Then he started asking me about people we used to hang around with from the cafe I worked at back then.
“Oh my god, how is Eric, how is he doing?”
I searched my clearly pea sized memory and came up with nothing. “Eric who?” I asked.
“Eric, the French guy”
Um, duh, they were all French where I used to work…I gave him a blank stare.
“Air-EEK, the French guy. With the big, full lips…”
At this point I wondered if he and Eric might not have had, as the French say, un liason. He was giving me stares that indicated he thought I was either super lame for not remembering, or a victim of early onset Alzheimer’s. So I faked it:
“Oh OF COURSE. Air-EEK. With the LIPS. Yes, Yes. Ah, good old Eric…I have no idea how he is, I haven’t seen him in at least a decade.”
Then he gave me a head to toe look and said, “Wow, you’ve got some grey hair coming in there…”
Mean comments about his slightly protruding belly flashed in my head, but I simply smiled and said “Yes, we are all getting older. I can’t believe it has been 15 years since we last saw each other…”
We awkwardly exchanged phone numbers and promised to call each other and get a coffee sometime. It might happen, I thought. Maybe I can get Eric to meet us there…