Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Small World

So if there's one thing I've figured out in my five years of living in Manhattan it's that this city is damn small and you are destined to keep running into people over and over again, ESPECIALLY the ones that you want nothing to do with, but every once in a while that really hot guy that you had a thing for like a year ago.

Every time I think that I'm never going to see someone again and he or she is totally out of my life, bam! the very next night I will inevitably run into them at a bar. And proceed to have very awkward small talk and pretend that we actually want to talk to each other.

The thing is, even with the seemingly endless number of bars and restaurants, New York is a very physically small city with a damn lot of of people crammed into it all going to the same bars and restaurants. So you are bound to run into the same people over and over again, especially if you frequent the same places.

Case and point, last night a friend and I were watching the Superbowl at a bar and while I was standing in line for the girls' room, the girl next to me looked at me and said my name.

Now there is nothing quite as terrifying as being somewhere and hearing someone you don't recognize say your full name. I instantly began racking my brain to figure out who she was - girl I knew from college? girl whose boyfriend I had dated? girl I had befriended at a bar and promptly forgotten about?

Turns out it was none of the above; she was girl whose older brother I had dated very seriously five years ago, girl whose older brother had totally broken my heart and I recently found out is engaged.

Suffice it to say the conversation was very awkward and I returned to my table looking like I had just seen a ghost, which isn't entirely inaccurate.

As if that wasn't enough, my friends and I proceeded to go to another bar thirty blocks away. I was standing to the side when I thought I recognized a group of guys that I had hung out with a few times. And in the middle of the group was a guy that I had dated two months ago but had pulled a disappearing act never to be heard from again.

I, of course, couldn't resist the urge to go say hi to all of them and play it cool. He was genuinely shocked to see me, which allowed me to revel in his confusion before I made my exit to go hide out in my apartment, where I wasn't likely to have any more uncomfortable run-ins.

I feel like there isn't a day that goes by that I don't run into someone I went to high school or college with, or worked with, or met through a friend of a friend. Anonymity in a city like this is virtually impossible.

I'm sure that's not a terrible thing for a lot of people, and some people enjoy it, but I chose New York because I wanted to blend in and walk down the street without worrying that I would bump into anyone I know. I went to a small college where everyone knew everyone else's business and it made me claustrophobic and drove me absolutely crazy. The last thing I wanted was to enter another environment similar to that one.

On a total side note, how creepy does that Disney It's a Small World ride look in pictures? Apparently when I was little and my parents took me to Disneyland Anaheim, I was obsessed with the ride and dragged them on it over and over again, like some sort of horrible It's a Small World torture. Just the thought of it makes my head hurt.

Side note to my side note: I was too scared to go on any of the other rides, so my parents and uncle would have to take turns going on the rides while one of them would stay with me. After a particular ride, my parents came out to find a crowd of people at the entrance and wondered what the fuss was about. And in the middle of it was three-year-old me putting on a show, dancing and singing around, thinking I was some sort of park entertainment.

My parents were so embarrassed they claim they considered leaving me there. It's nice to know that even at the age of three I was already a total attention hog. Apparently, some things never change.

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