While taking photos in bustling Times Square in Manhattan, G and I came across a common friend in college. Finding a familiar face whence I grew up among 1.5 million diverse individuals streaming in and out of Times Square was like finding the proverbial needle in a haystack.

Small world? Not quite. After all, the Small World Phenomenon — popularized by Yale theorist and psychologist Stanley Milgram — is not only a widely misused concept but also a disputed one. I will not belabor this argument but make merry the point of finding a familiar face in an otherwise unfamiliar and unwelcoming place as Manhattan (OK, OK, so I’m a newbie in NY).

G and I, taking a respite from the daily bum-of-a-life in suburban Long Island, were wandering in Times Square on a cloudy Tuesday afternoon; The purpose of the supposed aimless wandering about in NYC was suspect given a personal agenda I intend to make a blog of later on. But finding our fickle and indecisive selves at the center island of Times Square, pondering heavily whether to stay a bit longer (and relish the busy-ness absent in suburban living) or proceed to Central Park (and exhaust the camera to its weary end), led us to a seemingly pre-destined situation of meeting our friend, who we last rubbed elbows with a good six long years ago.

Imagine that scenario! We could've been on opposite ends of Times Square; We could've been in the same place but on different occasions and different times; We could've been walking and walking further on parallel paths where high rise buildings or speedy taxi cabs demarcate us — oblivious to possible what-if encounters (thereby negating the thought of crossing paths altogether as merely wild and unlikely a probability).

And yet, there we were: In the same, invariable, exact time and space! I couldn't think of an appropriate word on top of my head to describe the happenstance but the banal slang-of-a-word COOL.

OK. So you might conclude that it IS a small world. But I'd like to think more of it as English author Horace Walpole would call serendipitious — an instance of making a fortunate discovery by accident. Indeed, finding an old friend in New York is a remarkable discovery; A fortunate accident worth running into; An occurence deserving a celebration.

And so the next time G and I encounter a friend or an acquaintance in a seemingly impossible situation, we would perhaps compound the events that led to it not as a case of the world being a small and dense one but a divine phenomenon called serendipity. 

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