Do you ever have those moments where you just stop in utter amazement and remain speechless at just how small of a world we live in? I have been all around the world and despite this concept, it is pretty big. Yet so often despite the hastle of planes, trains and automobiles, and the time it takes to get from one destination to another, somehow the mysteries of this universe and fate combined can totally disregard distance and bring us face to face with experiences and people who make us stop and go,
“What a small world?”
I once said if I were to ever talk about friends in my blog I would give them nicknames. So this is a story about myself and one of my closest friends Slingshot and how we wound up having a “small world” moment. I could easily skip to the end of the night when this incident happened, but why not share a story about a good night. If you are really not interested in our shenanigans, skip to the bold down below and enjoy the shortened version.
Something you have to understand about Slingshot and I is that we never just go out casually. When we get together, we usually have to brace ourselves for the unknown. It isn’t that we go looking for these crazy experiences, but somehow between my shameless attitude and his capability to just not shut off, we end up in silly situations that make for enjoyable stories later on. As well, this is not a story that I’m telling as an example of our shenanigans. He is too nervous for me to write about those stories just yet. But this was one that I couldn’t help but share.
So last Friday morning I woke up getting ready for work and he sent me a message saying,
“Drinks and dinner tonight?”
It was the end of the week and I had no other plans for the night.
I was scheduled at work until 7pm but I received another message from at 6:20 saying he had just been in a car accident. I asked the team on call if they needed help and they encouraged me to make sure he was ok. I got to his house around 7:15. The car wasn’t in bad shape but he was definitely shook up. I told him that coming out with me would definitely make him feel better and that was all it took to put a smile on his face and get him excited to go out. When we went downstairs, his parents who were already frustrated with the accident, were not thrilled that he was going out. After some awkward silence I told them there would be nothing to worry about since we were walking for the night. We hadn’t discussed this yet but he jumped onboard real quick when their attitudes lightened.
I called my sister and asked if she would drive us there so we could walk back at the end of the night. She agreed and we left. When we got to my house we sat in the basement and shared our first drink.
Now here is the danger of having the option to walk home instead of drive. Ever since graduation, I have toned down nights out quite a considerable level. A lot to do with being a professional graduate but also because, I don’t like relying on DD’s and if I’m not at home, I’m not going to put myself in a situation where I am unable to drive. In college, there are discount cabs everywhere and if you want to walk back, you are most likely only a mile or two away from school. But when you live in the depths of the South Shore in Massachusetts, there is no public transportation and the enjoyable bars are all in either Boston or Plymouth. So if you are going to one of those spots for a fun night out, you either have to have lodgings within walking distance or have some access to public transport. If you know me and my obsession with my own bed, I am not sacrificing a night of sleep to be reckless and stay in Boston or on a friend’s floor unless it is a special occassion. And in the South Shore there is NO public transport unless you want to empty your bank account on a cab.
So usually, fun nights out in the South Shore are far and few between. However about a mile from my house is a growing local hot spot called Venus III. It is no college bar and it is no Boston / Plymouth classic. But for the area it is in and the crowd surrounding it, they do quite well. So after a little bit, my sister picked us up and dropped us off. So here we are in walking distance of my home (where my bed is) and no need to worry about limits. It was going to be a fun night.
The thing I love about Slingshot is that he is as personable as I am in social situations. He has no problem going up to new people, bartenders, waitresses, bouncers, patrons, males, females, anyone really and becoming best friends. That is also the thing I enjoy about a good townie bar, if you slightly recognize anyone or are willing to say cheers, you can become best friends for the night. I rarely paid for drinks in Worcester because the bars we went to involved buying pitchers of the cheapest thing and filling up everyone’s cup. I always made it a point to know the bartenders who would either
A. Give me cheap/free drinks.
B. Toss me an empty cup and point to the guy who just bought a pitcher.
In Worcester it wasn’t hard to know who the bartenders were. We went to the bar that primarily employed Assumption students because the bar itself was known as the unofficial Assumption bar. When I would go there in my junior year, the bartender was a guy who shared my major and was a decent aquaintance. Like I said, in a townie bar that is all it takes to make the connection. My senior year I lucked out. The girl who was hired to be the new bartender was a girl I just started helping out in a photography class. In return for some classroom tips, she never let me down on a Thursday night.
Outside of Worcester, it can be a little trickier, but really not that complicated. You just have to have the right raport with people. Namely the kind of raport that Slingshot and I both share. So when the waitress came over to take our order, we introduced ourselves. She was a little surprised that we were this friendly without having any kind of drink and right off the bat took to liking our attitudes. After a few rounds a girl came over to the table and Slingshot jumped up.
It happened to be a girl we went to high school with. Of course she recognized him. Slingshot has looked the same since about 7th grade. Nobody from high school recognizes me anymore which I for one don’t mind. After he hugged her hello, we quickly realized, this girl was very intoxicated. At first glance, we laughed. This girl we hadn’t seen in almost 5 years had one too many at a bar in Hanson, MA. This wasn’t going to bode well for her. A few moments later a couple came over and asked how she was. This turned out to be a couple that she babysat for. I don’t know about them, but after witnessing this scene, I wouldn’t be leaving my kids with this girl anytime soon. Her sloppy display attracted the sight of many, including the bouncers. They came over and gave the “one more mishap and you’re out” spiel.
It was 9:45. And she was getting this. Finally the girl in the couple said she was going to take her home. So we stayed with her boyfriend who was actually a really cool gent. He did electrical work for cathedrals in Boston. Who has a job like that? After a little while and taking turns buying rounds, the lady rejoined and they went off dancing. This was a fun and very enjoyable couple to be around.
We joined them for a few moments dancing in front of the live band and after a few minutes of being goofs, I slipped on the dance floor. The bouncer rushed over seeing if I was “that bad”. I stood right up and gestured at the floor which was soaking wet. He made sure I was ok and walked off. My friends and I just laughed. Slingshot and I decided to get one last drink and head home after a decent night out.
For those skimming the story, here is the SMALL WORLD bit.
We walked over to the bar and a woman from across the bar called out to me,
“That was a nice fall!”
I did a little bow and she laughed. Slingshot and I took our drinks and went back to our table. As we finished up we stood up to put our jackets on. When all of a sudden the woman who called out to me at the bar approached me at the table. She came up with another woman and asked me if they could ask a question. I agreed not expecting the following at all,
“Are you from the band One Direction?”
Now, I very vaguely know who they are. But to my (later confirmed) knowledge, they are like 8 years old. So my first reaction was confusion. In a dumbfounded voice I said,
“Oh damn! You look so much like one of them.”
“Is that a good thing?”
“Yes he is very attractive.” This made me feel better after being accused of being a pre-teen singer. But the following surprised me even more,
“Could I take a picture with you and tell people I met him?”
Slingshot just laughed and I really wasn’t sure what to say. I told a different friend about this and he hoped I said no. But in the midst of confusion and flattery, I agreed. Her friend took the picture of us and she said,
“Thank you! I can’t wait to pretend I met him.” I really didn’t understand the appeal in taking a picture with someone who “looks” like a celebrity. Who doesn’t see a handful of look-a-likes at any given time? It doesn’t mean I have an urge to take a picture with them. Regardless, Slingshot and I finished our drinks and walked out laughing that it actually happened.
We went home and crashed. The next morning I drove him home and wished him luck with the car. That night I met up with my cousins and we had dinner. My younger cousin is actually a fan of the band One Direction so I told her the story and asked which one I looked like. She couldn’t really tell. But we laughed about it nonetheless. Afterward we went to their house and just watched TV. I was messaging a few people and not paying attention when I opened a text message with the following picture,
My jaw dropped. That was the picture!? In a moment of pure confusion and shock, I flipped back to see who just texted me this picture. When I saw the name, I was mortified. My cousins saw me staring at my phone a little freaked and asked what was wrong?
The girl who sent me this picture was one of my former students this past summer at PCC (who for reference called me Dad). The message with the picture said,
“Hey DAD, I see you met me aunt tonight!”
This woman was the aunt of one of my former students and had sent the picture to her saying,
“Look at the cute guy I met at the bar last night! Doesn’t he look like one of the guys from One Direction?”
My student’s response was,
“Umm, that is Mr. Frazier… I call him Dad.”
I guess I don’t know why I was so horrified. Maybe because a former student knew I was at a bar? We really maintain a level of innocence as proctors. Maybe because a former student’s aunt pseudo hit on me? That just seems weird.
I immediately called Slingshot and told him the story. He just laughed and all we could say was,
“What a SMALL WORLD?” It is true. While sure PCC is a South Shore program and the chances of running into someone or their family outside is pretty decent, it is still baffling that somewhere in the tangled web of human existence, these associations bring us all together in some unexplainable way.
I guess if there is a lesson to this story, it is that you really always have to watch yourself. It should be pretty common sense, but you never know who is around.
To quote a good friend (with a small adjustment),
“Once a leader, always a leader.” She meant this in the sense of when someone meets us, they will always compare us to that initial meeting.
To quote one of my favorite films (Superbad),
“People don’t forget!”