What are the odds?

Katy Ho on the Bus
Katy Ho, a fellow Cornellian from C/O 2005 on the same bus in Brooklyn that I happened to be on.

One in 1,600,000.  That’s odds of randomly meeting someone I know in NYC excluding my wife’s family.  And yet, due to construction on the Q line, Danielle and I found ourselves on the bus with Katy Ho, who we hadn’t seen since graduation.

I’ve often remarked to my wife that it was odd we hadn’t seen any friends in New York.  And she always reminds me that New York has eight million people and the likelihood of anyone we know being in the same place as us is pretty slim.  I know this is true, but I strangely feel as if New York is a more intimate place.  I think it has to do with the fact that because there are eight million people there, you’re almost never walking alone on a street.  The city seems to be overflowing with people and it seems inevitable that you’d meet someone you know by chance.  But that’s just an example of how bad the human mind is at figuring out probability.  Katy was coming home from yoga and dinner with some friends.  And if the train tracks hadn’t been under construction, we would never have met up.

I’ve only ever seen one other person that we knew and that was Aileen, Danielle’s childhood friend.  But she was staying with her aunt who lives very near Danielle and we met her in that neighborhood – on the boardwalk to be exact.  So that’s a lot more likely because you’d only have to look at the number of people living in that part of Brooklyn compared to the number of people we know, which is at least two, if not three or four.  What was amazing about that particular encounter is that we randomly came across her on the boardwalk twice in one visit.  Although, it was probably roughly the same time each time (give or take an hour) so we were just catching her routine rather than bumping into each other randomly.

These chance encounters are part of the charm of living in a city.  In Maryland the chances of running into someone are much slimmer because you’re more likely to be taking your own transportation.  And there are less places to just walk around like the boardwalk or Manhattan.  I really enjoyed the shock of finding someone randomly in the city (although Danielle deserves the credit for seeing Katy) and I hope that I will run into one of my other friends next time I’m out in The City.