When I was in college I met a lot of new people and connected with some I neither saw nor heard from for some time. Like when Bobby Soccer called me out of the blue and asked, “Are you the Kelly who went out with me in 4th grade?” and I snorted first because of the thought that I had, indeed, considered myself of dating age when I was 10. So, yes, we went out.

Our conversation had a strange tone to it as he had simply found my name in a phone book, but I knew it was him when he confirmed that while I was sitting in some playground equipment that we called The Hamburger (dome-shaped, you climbed up a ladder through the center, apparently passing the lower bun until you sat in the meat part – why are you judging me, I was 10. And dating.) I noticed that Bobby was leaning forward on The Hill where he played, you guessed it, soccer. There was blood coming from his face as his hands were covering it because he apparently took a soccer ball right to the nose and it broke his glasses which cut his face up.

Why am I telling you this? Why am I leaving that preposition at the end of that sentence?

Because I am a rebel, that’s why.

Not entirely, but bear with me.

Once, while vacationing in Washington, DC with my husband and children and in-laws I was walking down a busy street (Pennsylvania Avenue is busy, no?) and squealed with delight as Roger History and I were passing one another. It hadn’t quite been 10 years since high school where we sat in U.S. History (you didn’t suppose I named him that because we took French together, did you? I took Spanish anyway. I was trying to throw you off your game.) and acted like we knew more about American History than our teacher who kept trying to move us apart because we were such disruptions. Roger was quick-witted, punk-attired, and rather fluent in German as we were seniors and he’d been taking it all four years. That moment, when I had two kids in diapers and a precocious 10 year old (who wasn’t dating yet, as far as I know) I turned into a 17-year old again and we hugged and kissed until my family finally asked Who IS this strange man?

During a family vacation in Tennessee one year I never expected to hear the voice of a former student call out my name while we were waiting to ride go-carts, but I did. We were several hundred miles from home and I ran into someone, yet again, that I know. Even my friend Becky teases me about going anywhere with her because once at that enormous Ikea store in suburban Chicago she joked, “I wouldn’t be surprised if you ran into someone in this store that I get lost in every time.” and within 2 minutes I heard my maiden name called from across the pillow bin. I hadn’t seen her in 12 or so years, but there was Basketball Michelle standing there squinting at me still trying to guess if it really was me. (It was.)

This is all to illustrate the number of people I’ve come across so far in my life. One time I calculated that with the average number of students I have in a year and their parents whom I’ve met at Parent-Teacher conferences as well as their step-parents and siblings I know well over 5,000 people in an educational career spanning 14 short years. Currently, I am reading Malcolm Gladwell’s “The Tipping Point” and he makes mention of the types of people who connect others and connect TO others. There is something about relating to people on a daily basis that is necessary for me. When I meet people I never forget a face and I do very well at names. Mostly, however, I will recall incidents of occurrences to help me make those connections.

There was even a blogger meet-up where I only knew one person who connected me to other people and another blogger who came to the Chicago meet-up simply because I was attending and out of that came folks near and dear to my heart.

All that was to say that I like to connect, that’s all. I’m thinking so much more about how we connect with one another daily like the same people I see at the Farmer’s Market or the scruffy guy at the liquor store who knows I never use their bags (long, slim wine bags are not good for anything else and waste paper). It’s amusing to see these people elsewhere and watch their faces betray their brains which are trying to connect, “Where do I know that woman from?” Whether it’s the mani-pedi gal (Mary) or the kickboxing chica (I just call her StrongBad) or the older gentleman at the bookstore (Gordon), I enjoy my connections. They are familial reminders of who we put our energies into on this earth.

Even today, I got an email from a gal I’ll call Tattoo Seeker who wrote that she’d seen my daughter’s tattoo and wondered if I would write some lyrics on paper to send to her so she could get those lines tattooed on her body. See the amazing beauty in being connected? Someone, a person I’ve never met, wants to have MY WRITING ON HER BODY. Surreal. Not the prosaic requests one gets day to day.

In my effort to learn about my own connectedness I wonder, quite often, how people connect to places like this. What brought them here? Where they on a coffee break and walked by a co-worker reading this thing called a ‘blog’ and then happened to continue reading? Did someone send my writing as a link to someone else who gets this via an e-mail service like Feedblitz? Is my mother telling everyone she meets, “My daughter has a blog! Read it!”?

We connect, we link, we network, we build relationships, we support, we get fired up for indignant behavior, we search for a commonality, we seek invitations to be a part of something. This very moment I consider: Who is even still with me after this long posting? I marvel: How did this reader get here? I ponder: How did I?

For My Homo Homies

Sally Kern must have forgotten all the best movie quotes. As a representative out of Oklahoma, she’s clearly never seen An Officer And A Gentleman and heard this line:

The only two things from Oklahoma are steers and queers, and I don’t see no horns on you, boy.

Incontrovertibly, she does not purport to play for the other team, so she must be the devil. She did a nice job proving that. Somebody please check her head for hornlike projections.

I would think with all my connections out there SOMEone could do that for me.