We live in a tiny world, we really do. I can’t even recall the amount of times I’ve stumbled upon friendly faces in a strange land. Old faces in new places, from days gone by under a different sky. These fateful meetings always take place in real time. I am there and I experience it for what it is, be it coincidence, chance, fate…
But I always thought it’d be pretty cool to find a belonging of someone and to go on an adventure to track them down, just like Amelie. Finding a faded love letter in a peculiar place, or a message in a bottle washed up on the sand; I love stuff like that. But sadly I’ve never had the chance to embark on such an escapade.
However, a few weeks ago I was just about to click ‘delete all’ regarding my inbox ‘trash’, when I thought ah what the heck, I’ll just double check. Then, I found this:
Hi Siobhan: I recently bought a used book in Hong Kong - ¨The Gourmet¨ by Muriel Barbery. On p.64 there is a highlighted section sorta about the lost passion of youth. Someone (or yourself) wrote in red pen, ¨Unless, of course, your name is Siobhan Lumsden[smiley thing]¨ Well, that was a fun thing to put in! So, I just had to check you out on the net, blah, blah. I am almost 60, and while I would applaud your attitude, I have found it necessary to maintain a deeper sense of cynicism to survive, which, paradoxically, can also preserve certain ideals, etc. I hope you too can also continue to be yourself when you are 60! Michael Ranieri
OK, so it’s not the beginning of a love story haha…but I still thought it was pretty freaking cool. And that, that is precisely why I am friends with Tarrah Macdonald- the girl who sent me the book and who ever-so kindly always highlights little sections to grab my attention. This kind of thing reminds me just how awesome our world is. Little encounters like this are so encouraging, and they make me feel less sad about the number of books I give away to second-hand book stores when I pack up ship and set sail for another country. Clearly my books are being bought and cared for and continuing on their journey, all the while allowing 60 year old men to question their cynicism.
And no, I don’t know how this Michael got my email, and I’m going to pretend I’m not creeped out by how exposing the internet can be.
I’m also going to keep being positive, and yes, I probably will still be the same at 60. I highly doubt my personality is going to let cynicism crawl in anytime soon, if ever.
So, next time you’re about to throw that old book away, stop, write your name on the front page, or highlight a section that you identify with and sign your name next to it. Who knows? You might make a new friend!