O is my new facebook friend. Prior to this morning, though, we'd never spoken, met, or even played Words with Friends against one another. But she was willing to take a chance, partly because I was willing to take a chance, and we met, along with her husband, B, for breakfast this morning. I enjoyed my time with them immensely. Additionally, and while I concede that my knowledge of them is limited to a two-hour span, I felt like our conversation mattered. It might not have been of much consequence in the overall, worldwide picture, but it mattered to me. It made a difference to me. And I hope that it mattered, even if just to some small extent, to them.
This roadtrip has provided me with even more opportunities to meet brand new people than the previous one. At some point, it seems that the law of averages would arrange for a terrible encounter and/or experience. But it certainly hasn't happened yet. Rather, the times I've spent with my relatively unknowns, including O and B, have been amongst my favorite, and my most memorable.
J is coming off of her seventh (yes, seventh) brain surgery. For some reason, she thought it'd be a cool idea to meet up with me just three days after the inside of her head was poked and prodded. I did not disagree, though I did feel a little badly for her. Still, when I get the opportunity to hang out with J on the back patio of a bar on a perfectly nice day in Denver, I take it, whether her brain is functioning at full capacity or not. Spending time with her was a bit different than spending time with others I've seen on this trek, because J is one of the few that I had seen recently. Many of the questions and discussions I have during dates with my Facebook friends had already been answered by and discussed with J when we were together 9 months before. So while it was great, it was definitely unfamiliar.
After we parted and as I drove to my next Facebook friend meeting, I considered my time with J for a bit, and wondered whether the different feeling I got with her was attributable entirely to J's recovering brain. After all, if life has taught me anything, it's that blaming anything and everything on a friend's recent brain surgery is the best way to go, every single time. But then I had another thought. What if it felt different to be with J because we'd not only done it so recently, but because I might actually be moving beyond the Facebook friend zone with her and into the actual friend zone? Thinking of a possible friendship with her, and thinking that perhaps this trip is paying dividends certainly doesn't sound like the worst thing in the world. Not to me, anyway.