Saturday, July 01, 2006

Statistical improbability and the tale of the regular random

I work with a woman who just got married last year, they're my age, they're still poor students. Tonight she came over to talk to me and announced that she was pregnant. I wondered how they were going to afford the whole thing, and if it maybe wasn't planned but no matter how good friends you are with someone, I think it's gauche to ask.
After a little more discussion she announced that she was specifically trying not to have kids at this point in her marriage, because of obvious financial reasons. And that she and her husband had been using the pill AND condoms. Oh course this caused an involuntary shudder in me - like I'm sure the rest of the young and poor and sensible feel when they hear that kind of thing. I know birth control isn't 100%, but I always consoled myself by keeping in mind that I didn't have a single friend or acquaintance, or friend of a friend who had ever gotten pregnant while consistently using a method of birth control. Obviously, I don't mean withdrawal or the rhythm method, I'm talking about condoms, or diaphragm or the pill or iud or whatever. Very scary.

I ran into an old friend yesterday, as PP would put it he was a random, but a semi-regular random, someone I've known for many years. I used to run into him every so often. Anyway, after I started dating my present boy, the one I live with, he called me up one night, and announced that he had broken up with his girlfriend and did I want to come over and keep him company. I said no, I'd just started dating this boy, and I didn't think the boy would like it too much. Anyway, months passed, and I saw the guy again. He said, "so are you still dating that guy?" (and he remembered his name, he didn't remember the names of any of my other friends, people he knew quite well, so I really noticed that he remembered my boy's name) I said, "yeah, I am." He said, "It must be 7 months you guys have been together now." I was pretty surprised that he remembered.
The next time I saw him was another few months later. He said, "so are you still dating that guy?" (again remembering the name) I said, "yeah, I am." He said, "It must be 18 months you guys have been together now." Really weird.
So yesterday, I go to the flower shop with TT, and we leave he heads for the subway, I head for my other friend's apartment across the street. As I'm waiting for her to let me in I realize that I've got two umbrellas in my hand. That TT has left without his. So I run back to the corner and into this guy. He says, "Hi." I say, "Just a sec!" and yell down the street to TT. He comes back and gets the umbrella. And the guy and I start talking. "What have you been up to?" "Funny running into you here." "Do you live in this neighbourhood now?" Then he says, "So are you still dating that guy?" I say, "Yes, we live together now." He says, "It's been like 3 years hasn't it?" I have to think for a minute how long it's been, sure enough, it's a bit more than 3 years.
We agree to stay in touch. I turn back and my friend is waiting at her front door for me. It's no big thing, I ran into this guy, we live near each other, I would have run into him eventually. But, if it hadn't been rainy, if TT hadn't forgotten his umbrella, if we'd walked slower, faster, we wouldn't have run into each other. Makes you think of the randomness of it all. All I can say, is that it's lucky that I was looking alright, if I'd been in my track pants with greasy hair, this post would be a totally different one.


Miss Ash said...

Hmm i'm curous to know which random it was...start with an "S"?

paul said...

look on the bright side. they say that the pill + condoms are over 99.5% safe, and now you've met the one person of the 200 you know who is the exception, so you know it won't be you or anyone you care about.

and regarding mr random, it's always amazing how ridiculous the lack of social skills on boys can be, how see-through we actually are. sigh.

Jennifer said...

I like your thinking Paul!
Ash, yes, would you like me to post a picture and his address too?

Princess Pessimism said...

Ash - I was thinking the SAME thing!!!

and yes, they would be referred to as randoms...LOL!!! how funny.

I actually ran into a random of mine before I left windsor. quinn actually.

I was driving to do some errands, and I pull off the expressway, and his car is like right bhind mine. He has not ever seen my car, because he ususally drove, and if we were driving, we were hanging out at my place.

So I see him, and I ducked. In my own car. And was "holy shitting" my way to my errands, and begging, out loud, saying "please dont go to the same place I am". He does not.

So I run my first errand and go to the second place, which was going back down the street, as I had already passed it.* Im in the second store, wandering the aisles, and i turn the corner and bump right into quinn. And it was about 2 days after I said that I was moving away and it would be a better idea if we didnt see one another anymore.

Wait....did I already post this story on your blog?

*Insert: I have this wierd thing where if I am dropping people off, or running errands, i'll do the one thats farthest from my house first. Ash hates this, as she lives the closest to me when I drop people off..but thats how I do it.

Trib said...

Huh. Weird.

Miss Ash said...

Yes that would be wonderful. In fact, i think you should post the one with the sneakers and the miners light, i have yet to see it :)

Jennifer said...

Yeah no...

jane said...

Hey Jennifer, if you take Paul's statistical advice seriously, you can be even more reassured -- I know someone else that happened to. So, safe! Or also kinda scary. Take your pick.

Hey, speaking of... whatever... in order to finally understand certain bits of pop culture, I've been watching season 1 of Sex in the City on DVD (I'd never seen the show at all before). Are they normal? Am I just really weird? I'm so confused.

Jennifer said...

Jane, keep watching, the show doesn't hit it's stride until the 2nd or 3rd season and by then you won't care if it's normal or not.