Today I was working, out of the office for most of the day. On the riverfront, crowded with people enjoying a balmy winter’s Saturday, I walked past a girl standing near the river wall, next to (in my opinion) the best, and therefore busiest, fish and chip shop in my hometown. She was eating hot chips, on which she’d poured copious amounts of some sort of mayonnaise. In lifting one chip out of the paper cone, she dislodged another, heavily laden with the thick sauce; we both watched as it over-balanced on the edge of the cone and fell, as though in slow motion, turning over itself, to land with an audible splat! on the pavement. Amidst the bustle of people, she looked at me and I looked at her – and we both laughed.
I will never see this girl again. I will never know her name, nor she mine. We will never know a thing about the other – we will remain perfect strangers. But we were probably the only two people in that space who watched the chip’s plunge, who heard the surprisingly loud splatter of its impact. And, in that small moment of absurdity, in the funny little details of life, we were ever-so-briefly connected. Two human souls touched, and enjoyed the humour of physics and randomness, and then moved along on our respective paths, just a little bit better for the experience.