Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Bumping into in the 'Burgh

This is like walking into a Zulu vocabulary lesson!

-- My brother Ted, upon seeing the African savanna exhibit at the Carnegie Museum of Natural History



I'm wrapping up a few days' visit to Pittsburgh which, I have to say, has been a success. I walked all over parts of the inner East End, saw parts of the Carnegie International exhibit, met up with some old friends, and had a grand old time generally.

I was almost disappointed with the trip, though. Since my family moved to Chapel Hill in 2002, I've made about six trips back to the 412, and every time, I've run into people I know just randomly on the street, and usually within not very long of arrival. So as I was entering day two of my stay and not bumping into anyone, I thought it might not happen. People move away, after all--witness me, not staying in any one place for more than 30 days at a time in the last three years--and then just the chances of me being in the same place as someone I know (let's be generous and say that would be out of a pool of maybe 1,000--maybe) and it would be completely possible to be in town and not see anybody. Of course, the longer I stay, the greater probability I see someone I know, and I can also affect this by hanging out in public areas where people would be (Forbes and Murray Avenues in Squirrel Hill, Walnut Street in Shadyside) rather than sitting in a hotel room or any other low-traffic area.



So you all will presumably be pleased to learn that I did in fact run into some people I knew. Nobody to whom I was or am particularly close (my definition of "run into" excludes arranged meetings) but people whom I recognized, and who recognized me. One from Frick, the other from Schenley, which is about the distribution I've had in the past. So huzzah for getting that probability sorted out!

Update: I forgot to mention, I was also stopped by a girl on the street who liked my Obama fleece and after talking for a moment, we realized we had a number of friends in common. We initially speculated in the 50-60 range, but according to Facebook only ten. But that's something, right?

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