It's A Small World After All
I was sitting at work today, procrastinating all the things I should have been working on and counting the days until I leave here, when a customer walked in. The first thing he asked was “Is there a Josh that works here?” That question always indicates one of two things: 1) I spoke with someone on the phone, and I directed them to ask for me specifically when they came into the office. I didn’t recall having done that in the last few days. That left indication 2) The customer is upset, they know I’m the Lead, so they’re here asking for me by name in order to complain. Great, I thought, just great. I don’t need this today. I took a deep breath and answered “Yeah, I’m Josh. What can I do for you?” He smiled, pointed to the name-tape on his uniform, and said “My cousin told me that you wouldn’t believe there was a Schierholz out here, so I’m stopping by to prove it.” (the guy’s last name is Schierholz, in case anyone needed clarification). I smiled back as I recalled an IM conversation I had with a buddy of mine the other day... My good friend Ryan and I chat on IM fairly regularly -- usually it’s as I’m getting ready to call it a night and he’s just showing up at work. A few days ago we were chatting and he mentioned that he’d been meaning to tell me something for a long time but kept spacing it. He said that he has a cousin who’s out here, right here on this base, and that this cousin shares his unique last name. Apparently one of Ryan’s sisters had told this cousin to stop by and say hi because they knew I’d get a kick out of it. Ryan also mentioned during out little chat that this cousin is scheduled to redeploy soon (“redeploy” is Army-speak for “go back home”), so I figured that I’d probably missed my chance to meet this cousin. I didn’t think much of it, and sure enough by today I had forgotten all about. Thanks to the efforts of “Ryan and Sisters,” who hadn’t forgotten about it, I was pleasantly surprised when Lieutenant Schierholz walked into my office today. My conversation with the LT was short, but it was really fun to meet him and chat for a bit. We stayed on the typical “I-don’t-really-know-you-but-I-know-people-that-you-know” small talk, and I was able to reminisce just a little bit. I told him that Ryan and I have been friends for years, that we went to school together and were college (and post-college) roommates -- he mentioned Elizabeth’s name and I told him that I knew Ryan’s sisters and mom fairly well and that I’d actually lived in Elizabeth’s house back in Colorado Springs for a while. It was the second “small world” meeting that I’ve had since arriving here, the first of which was several months ago when I met a Sergeant from Omaha who knows my aunt and uncle. It’s always fun to run into people like that because it really does help to shrink this great big planet just a bit. It’s comforting to know that despite the thousands of miles that separate me from my family and friends, our worlds can still be brought together through mutual relationships. Mostly the conversation just made me wish I was in LT Schierholz’s shoes, and that I was mere days away from heading home to actually see those family and friends. I won’t be too far behind him though, and in the meantime it’s fun to meet someone who is connected to the very people that I’m anxious to get home and hang out with.