This morning, I checked my e-mail to find that Tyler had sent me a picture of my brother Ian peeing in a sink. Tyler and Ian have never met. Over the course of the morning I learned that Tyler was hanging out with his friend from San Diego, and showed the San Diego friend a picture of Ian making the "Tyler face" that I had sent to Tyler. Upon seeing this, San Diego Friend told Tyler that he recognized Ian as someone he met at some kind of Big Lebowski Festival, and that he had a picture of him peeing in a sink.
That was pretty weird, but what's weirder is that this sort of thing happens to me more often than it should. It's been happening so much recently that I'm starting to think I may be the hub of some sort of cosmic sandwich.
Last week, for example, when I was in San Diego with The Firm, a woman from the San Francisco office told me that she had met someone who knew me, though she couldn't remember any details beyond that and the fact that the person, whoever he was, asked her if I came off all "low-key" and didn't tell her about my comedy writing. I only met this woman during the Yosemite trip last summer, so I don't know her very well. Apparently my unrelenting arrogance doesn't present itself until after I'm well-acquainted with a person.
Also, for some time now my best friend since I was a fetus, John (of the Octopus Hat Johns), has been working with a guy I went to high school with. John and I have never lived in the same city or gone to the same school. This wasn't such a big deal, since I didn't know the guy from high school very well -- I knew him, but we never made out or anything. But then a few weeks ago John ended up hanging out with another person I went to high school with, who I was actually friends with.
But the most ridiculous conflation of people-I-sort-of-know arose during the clerkship interview process. This is a complicated story, so if you're already bored go ahead and stop reading. It starts with my federal courts professor, a judge on the Ninth Circuit who wrote one of my recommendation letters. On one of my interviews, one of the clerks I met was the daughter of this Professor-Judge. She was very nice. The following week I had another interview with a whole nother judge, a judge who had the curious practice of inviting two candidates in at a time and meeting with one while the other met with his clerks, and vice versa. The other candidate in this judge's chambers at the time was a woman named Jaynie, who I met for about ten seconds as we traded places. She seemed nice. A day or so later I got my offer from the judge that I'll be clerking for (bringing the total number of judges in this story up to three -- the Professor-Judge, the judge whose clerk is the daughter of the Professor-Judge, the judge in whose chambers I met Jaynie, and the judge I'm going to clerk for). I accepted, and there was much rejoicing.
About a week later I had lunch with the Professor-Judge, who told me that my co-clerk next year will be.... Jaynie! And he knows this because Jaynie is friends with his daughter, who I also met, and I told him that I had already met Jaynie, and what a small world after all. I googled Jaynie but didn't have the nerve to e-mail her; she googled me and e-mailed me, and she'll probably read this. Hi Jaynie.
There have also been other unjustified coincidences involving people to whom I'm moderately connected. At the Ashby BART station one afternoon I ran into a woman I had gone to high school with in Southern California. On my block in Santa Monica -- on my block, not on the Promenade, not even on Wilshire or Santa Monica Boulevard, but on my seldom-traveled stretch of suburban humpastump -- I ran into a guy from my freshman dorm at Berkeley. Another woman I went to high school with appeared at the student health clinic in Berkeley a few months ago while I was picking up a prescription. Oh, and I just remembered the fact that the woman at the center of the UCLALR controversy three years ago sat in front of me for eight hours during first-year orientation at The Firm last week.
So that's really it. A survey of curious coincidences. I don't really know what else to say, except that I'm pretty sure I made up the word "humpastump" just then. But Google seems to disagree.