Monday, August 31, 2009

Soup's on

I've been making a lot of soup lately. Yesterday was butternut squash, apple, yam curry soup. Today is carrot-ginger soup. And tomorrow? Well, I haven't thought about it that far ahead yet. Maybe a nice gazpacho or a corn chowder.

My coworker likes my soup; he laps it up and is complimentary in the most hyperbolic yet pleasant way, which is so fantastic I could die. It's always lovely when someone raves about your cooking. It does wonders for the ego. It's the culinary equivalent of getting winked at.

All this soup-making reminded me of someone I once knew. Matt Smith hated soup. I didn't think it was possible for someone to hate soup, but he did. He also only drank chocolate soy milk and root beer. Go figure. I was never really that close to Matt, since he lived in Vancouver and I was in Edmonton, but I was always fond of him. Ok, fine, I had a massive crush for years. One might even be so bold as to suggest borderline unhealthy. But those are just details. Anyway, we'd keep in touch sporadically, going through phases where we were e-mailing every few days and alternating with long stretches of non-communication. It's been a really long time since I last heard from him, and I hadn't really thought much about him unless something popped up in my day that reminded me of a conversation we once had or something he may have expressed disdain for. But generally, out of sight, out of mind.

It's funny how in our entire lifetime we come into contact with so many people, yet we really only keep in touch with a select number. Family, close friends, maybe physicians or dentists are constants in our lives. Depending on the period in our lives, we think we'll be forever in contact with some people, only to meet them again 5, 10, 15, 20 years down the line as total strangers. They may trigger a sort of deja vu-esque nostalgia. I find it so odd to run into someone I was once so close to only to be met with a feeble handshake and a weak smile or indifferent wave of the hand. And the thing is, each phase in our lives seems to come with different packets of people. I think it's safe to say not a lot of us are still friends with people we knew in elementary, junior high, high school or even university. Or at least not with every friend from a past era.

I've done more than my fair share of moving around, and despite living in a city for years and promises, when I move away, over time I only end up keeping in touch with a small number of people. I used to pride myself on being really good at keeping in touch. At some point, I kind of stopped making all the effort. All the energy and motivation I'd have to devote to keeping in touch with someone simply became too much. Not to mention some people aren't even worth all that effort.

*A side note about randomness: I've had a number of coincidences in my life where I'd be travelling and meet someone who is a friend of a friend from back home. It used to blow my mind every time this happened, but eventually I got used to it and realized two things:
1) Canada is not that big. Once you subtract all the babies and older people, then further subtract those that don't share common interests, the actual number in my peer group isn't that large. Plus everyone knows everyone else, especially with the social circle I run in. A side of Six degrees of Kevin Bacon, anyone?

2) After listening to Radiolab's podcast on stochasticity
(really just a "smarty-pants word for randomness") I realized it's just a numbers game. What we think of as coincidence, is really just probability and partly chance.

Anyway, back to Nostalgia Lane, it's always so bittersweet to think about people we've lost touch with. No doubt we share some good, nay, great memories, but there's also that untold story of why we drifted. And what do you say when you want to rekindle the fire of communication, when you want to reach out and retouch someone?

I guess you say, "Hi, so-and-so. It's me. Listen, it's been a while. What's been going on in your life? Oh, me? Not much. I'm just making this big pot of soup..."

No comments: