I sat in a coffee shop the other day, preparing for a crash guest lecture I was apparently scheduled to give, but had only learned about the night before.
Before me sat a middle aged man, closer to the older range of middle age. He started speaking to me, as usual wondering about my looks, and trying to guess where I was from. People usually guess the right region, but not the right country.
This conversation was very delightful, as I started asking him about the meaning of life, and at his age, when did he first feel settled down.
He took my picture, and few days later I received a greeting card from him. I loved it.
I have met so many people so randomly. Some of them became my closest friends, others became a great memory. Some write to me, then disappear, then resurface, with new stories, adventures, marriages, divorces, children, new sail boats, and life plans.
I met my friend R this way. He was on his way to a writer’s colony in the South. I was very new in town, so I used to work in a coffee shop near the expressway. It made me feel like I was near the exit, and I could leave if I wanted to.
He’s an older man. He was a well established economist, and travelled the world. Apparently, in a huge conference, right when he was offered the job of any man’s dream, and his dreams, he said no, and walked out of the conference, defeated. He became a writer, and gave me his most successful book.
I just got an email from him. The last time I heard from him was when I was in Istanbul, back in the summer. Apparently, he’s been sailing, but he didn’t say where. He’s also still trying to figure out the meaning of life.