How Random Interactions Affect our Lives

Sorry, I’m waxing philosophical today—a side benefit of a head cold.

People interacting As I go through my days, I’m repeatedly making incidental contact with people. I try, at least on my good days, to give them a smile, say thanks, even to inquire about their day. If I have any impact on their lives at all, I hope it’s a positive one.

I can think of more than a few times when a random interaction influenced my life. A couple perhaps even changed it. A beer shared with a French professor in a southern bar led to working nine months abroad. Volunteering for a homeless shelter one night put me shoulder to shoulder with a woman who would convince me that I should write a book. One of my most treasured friends happened to show up on my doorstep one day, invited by a friend to a baby group I was hosting. The list could go on.

Most of the time, though, we don’t know which of our random interactions have an effect on others. But I wonder. If I allow it to, my imagination could run wild. Did the man who I held up by “sleeping” through a light change miss an important doctor’s appointment? Or did he and his wife have an honest conversation about his need to lighten up? Did something I said I point someone towards the solution to their quandary? I even wonder who convinced me to go to wherever I contracted Lyme disease. (I honestly wonder more about the where than the who.)Multiple gears engaging

Sometimes I wish there were a way to have a glimpse at the grand design of human interactions—to see cosmic plans in action. I’d love to see the cogs personalities engaging with each other as the gears of time elapse, and to see which ones work in harmony and which ones change paths. I’d love to see the interlocking puzzle pieces and know which pieces enabled me to finish my picture.

(c) Laura Hedgecock 2013

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