So, here are the Rita stories. First of all, we first met because of coincidences. I was a speaker at the LA SCBWI conference last year, and after my talk people lined up to talk to me (I felt very popular). When I got to this one woman, she looked embarrassed and said something about how she didn't really have a question, but she wanted to say that she thought we had two people in common. The first was a friend of hers named Calvin who was doing consulting at my company--yes! I knew him! (I remembered sitting in meetings and watching him taking notes in between nodding off.) And the second was that she was married to Damon, who I was friends with in college. I think he lived on the same dorm floor freshman year as one of my high school friends, and coincidentally one of HIS high school friends lived one floor below me in MY dorm. And that high school friend turned out to be one of Rita's best friends (Rita and Damon also went to high school together). It's all connected, right?
So Rita and I saw each other a bunch at the conference, kept in touch, read each other's blogs. My post on things I want to learn/try spurred her to email me about the Fiesta Bowl parade--she had marched in it, too--senior year of high school, as the clarinet section leader, front and center, setting the pace for the whole band. And you know what? ME, TOO! ME, TOO! Senior year of high school I was also the clarinet section leader, and also marched front and center, setting the pace for my marching band.
But that's not all:
About five or so years ago I was home for Thanksgiving, playing pool with my brothers in the basement, and the TV was on (but we weren't really watching,) and it was tuned to the Tonight Show with Jay Leno. I actually think it may have been a repeat of an old show, because I don't think it was that late, but I'm not sure. Anyway, he was doing a skit about the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade with one other person, and there was some generic parade footage playing behind them. I kinda glanced at it and after seeing a banner I realized that the parade footage they were using was the Fiesta Bowl parade.
"Hey, that's the Fiesta Bowl parade!" I said to my brothers. We started to watch.
"Wait...omigod, that's Diamond Bar!" (our high school)
Sure enough, it was the purple-and-gold Diamond Bar High School marching band--my band, and I slowly realized that it was my band during the time that I was in it, during my senior year, and wait...
"Hey! There's me!!!"
They showed the front of the band a few times, and I got a glimpse of myself marching along in my purple-and-gold uniform and playing the clarinet (not a pretty sight, I should say). Now, I hardly ever watch the Tonight Show, first of all, and that it would be that exact parade footage, from that exact time that we marched by...now that's a coincidence.
And now more coincidence and connection stories from my weekend. This turned into an account of almost everything I did this past weekend, so please stop reading now if you don't want to be bored:
On Friday night I went to happy hour (well, a happy hour that turned into a 10-hour, 4-bar, 2-food establishment night), and Tracy's friend who was visiting from out of town came out, and he brought a friend who bore an uncanny resemblance to Hugh Grant. The next morning Rose and I were talking about the resemblance, and not ten minutes or so later I got a text from her. She was walking in Central Park and saw the REAL Hugh Grant walk by! I kid you not.
And more about that happy hour, it started as a work thing, but as I often do, I extended the invitation out to others. Now, usually when I do this, maybe one or two people end up coming out, but this time, maybe it was because it was a Friday right after the holiday, I had a ton of friends from different walks of life come out. Rose and her friends, my skydiving buddy Craig and his girlfriend, some of the Randoms, and of course my coworkers. And people kept asking how everyone else knew each other, and it was fun remembering. (One example: Eleanor's coworker Annabelle was roommates with Charlie, who interned with James, who went to school with Miguel, whose brother Jorge dated Jen, who went to college with Eveline, who I worked with.) We took over the Salt Bar for a good 4 hours. And if you've never been there, you must go just to try their bacon-wrapped-dates which are so good that we have dreams about them. Oh, and in honor of making the year 2007 two-thousand-and-risk, I tried a drink called the Bullshot that had beef bouillon and horse radish in it, and I liked it, dammit!
Saturday day was spent at brunch with my cousins Nate and Ingrid, and then a nice long walk in the park on a 70-degree day in January. Now, you'd think that connection is easy--cousins, right? But Ingrid is actually my step-cousin, as Ingrid's dad married my aunt about 4 years ago. And I guess Nate is my step-cousin-in-law. Right? So, what am I to their 2-month old baby Owen? His second-step-cousin?
Saturday night at Pete's housewarming party in Brooklyn was more of the same in terms of how people knew each other: Pete's originally a friend of a friend of a friend. There were other friends-of-friends there. And friend of a friend of a friend's coworkers. And friend of a friend of a friend's coworker's friend's friend. But hey, now we can all just say we're all just friends.
And on Sunday night, as I was heading out to watch Pan's Labyrinth (amazing movie), I got a call from a friend with a random question, and it turned out we were both heading to the same Times Square theater to watch movies (they were seeing Children of Men which I just saw last week), so we got to say hello in person outside of the theater. Another coincidence.
And I truly did not set out to tell you everything I did this weekend, but, well, there you go. A weekend in the life of me.
So that's the story of my Tonight Show appearance. And stories of coincidences and connections. I have more up my sleeve that I'll save for another day, but I'd love to hear your stories, too.
Oh, and I answered the anonymous query from the last post yesterday over at the Blue Rose Girl's blog.