There are people who are somehow tied to us beyond normal obligations or social networks. I don’t mean to be all esoteric – my experience has shown this.

I’ve known a few of these folks in my time. Generally, I have no idea why they haunt me like living spirits. Some are friendly, some unfriendly.

Maybe they think I haunt them. Maybe we are just irresistibly drawn together in some way beyond our understanding.


The Case of Whatzisname:

I was on my way to a band rehearsal after work one day when the red-eyed, crazy-haired kid next to me started to chat. I forget the details, but he probably asked me about the instruments I was carrying, since this is usually how strangers generally start conversations with me on the bus. I do remember that he was wearing bright orange pyjama pants and appeared to be stoned out of his gourd. Feeling friendly, I chatted to him and gave him my band’s card and never expected to see him again.

A few months afterwards, I decided to take a first-year undergrad Geography course as background information for applying for grad school. On the first day of class, there he was next to me in the lecture hall. His little girl-friend glared at me jealously whenever we talked.

Since that class ended, he appeared randomly a dozen times or so – on the bus, in the public library. I tried to give him a little insight into life outside school and potential career and grad school paths in his areas of academic interest. He gave me crazy pearls of wisdom like how to appreciate the endless winter rain.

He’s been a friendly spirit, and I’m always happy to see him whenever he materializes. The last time I saw him was about six months ago. We were standing in the same lineup at a grocery store in neither of our neighbourhoods. We rode the bus together across town while he ate soft dessert tofu directly out of the package with his hands. I think he said he was going on academic exchange – maybe that’s where he is now. Or maybe each of us has learned or gained whatever it is we needed to from the other, and we’ll never meet again.

Rooftop Birds

These unexplained interpersonal connections came to mind today when I took a colleague’s place in a meeting today. Another of these people was sitting a few chairs away from me, attending the same meeting.

This one is a wounded spirit, the ex of the husband of a friend of mine. The breakup happened five years ago. It had nothing to do with me.  We have nothing to say to each other. Yet once a month or so, she appears. She walks by me in some public place, or turns up through some odd connection, she gives me a mournful look,  and we nod at each other.

Are they meaningful nods?  I have no idea. I wonder how this relationship will resolve. Maybe we must haunt each other all our lives.