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The spark of recognition

February 1, 2010

In the week that I’ve been here, I’ve experienced a peculiar phenomenon several times already, and one I expect to enjoy a whole lot more while I’m here.

No fewer than four times since I’ve been here, I have met in person someone I had corresponded with for a while, over e-mail, telephone or both: my roommate, someone who works at the apartment complex and helped me get my lease settled, and two editors for whom I’ve been freelancing. The circumstances of each meeting has been different as well — my apartment, the complex’s main office, Flagpole’s office and a bar — and I’d say my relationships with each of these people, though new, are different.

But with each of them I’ve had a common experience: that fleeting moment of insecure anxiety — Is that JP?/Jacqueline?/Michelle?/Alec? — followed by a fleeting moment of shared recognition and relief. Sometimes there’s a handshake. I suppose this is what people who frequent dating sites must get all the time, only without the desperation or social resignation.

It’s an ephemeral thrill, but it’s one that’s proven valuable since moving to a town where I don’t know anybody.

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