unexpected connections


A strange thing happened twice tonight.

I was sitting under the ivy of my favorite coffee shop with my Argentine lady-friend. Fragments of light from the string bulbs above us reflected off of our glasses and shone over our tazas de te like spotlights. We chatted for our usual hour or so – catching up, exchanging stories, and wiping away the rust from my Spanish speaking vocabulary one verb conjugation at a time. Animated as ever, and in true Argentine fashion, we spoke with both our voices and hands. The relationship was weighted more heavily towards gesticulations, though, so much so that a random passer-by, Finnigan, thought it only right to interject into our conversation, breaking the ice with a clever:

“I like you guys. You talk with your hands.”

First, Finn, neither of us females are guys. Second, you’re absolutely right. We, of Mediterranean influence talk with our hands with nothing shy of theatrical dedication. Why you have now chosen to segway your observation into a twenty minute conversation about fish and foreign films from the ’60s is entirely beyond me, but I’m glad you felt comfortable enough to share. I’m glad you saw us as two agreeable guys who were all about your kind and cooky conversation.

Finnigin First, Troy Second.

After tea with Silvia, I headed to Cal Poly to board myself in a broom closet of a practice room. Just me and a baby grand for an hour. Halfway through a Chopin piece, I see a head glide into view. It does not glide out, and an eager brow raise communicates, “Can I come in?”  I nod and lose my place in the score only to find out that Troy here hadn’t reserved the room like I had originally suspected. He hadn’t come to kick me out. He just popped in to introduce himself and drop a line of praise, commending me on my fancy finger work from a nervous distance.

Pleasant surprise.

I got to thinking, tonight my hands brought me two unexpected connections, and were solely responsible for pushing my view of the norm. They reminded me that people are passionate, people are courageous, people are kind hearted. People want to talk, share, and relate. My hands collided our worlds tonight – my world and Finnigan’s, my world and Troy’s.  What a treat to know that people are apt to act on an impulse.

I wonder what the next thing to catch your eye and pique your interest will be. Will it be initiated by a stranger? Will you go up and talk to them?

After poking around for visual support, I couldn’t help but relate a hand to a word. If you stare at it long enough, it makes less and less sense. Suddenly you can’t equate a part of speech or meaning to it, and in an instant, you don’t even understand how you know to read. Is that right, you wonder? Is that really how it’s spelled?

It’s a mad, mad world.


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