The other day I was at the grocery store, and I came across a woman I know from many years ago.
We had fallen out for dumb reasons. We had both been going through some difficult transitions.
I checked up on her online, a few times. Found her Facebook account. Determined she still lived here. One of the ones I regret.
And there she was, hailing me in the aisle of the grocery store. Wanting to talk.
And we did. We became, for awhile, two of those slightly annoying oldish women standing around, immersed in conversation in some grocery store aisle, with little girls skittering around us saying “Sorry!”
“I hate it when they do that,” she said. “How girls are always saying they’re sorry.”
Eventually we both agreed that we had to finish our shopping, and that it would be a good thing to do this again, somehow, even if only at random.
It was as if we’d never parted. It was like some kind of marvelous dance, and later I wondered that I could do this so easily, just waltz back into this association with this charming, intelligent woman, now in her sixties, as I will be soon. It didn’t seem like me, this social agility.
And then I realized where I’d learned it. Here. Everywhere I go, running across women acquaintances, friends, everywhere, all of you. Trading notes, exchanging support, being careful, and then moving on back into my solitary life, and then back into this world of talking with women, endlessly.
I know this script so well. And really, it’s not a bad script, at all. It’s a method of navigation. And it works, even outside of the Internet. Who’d have thought?