My psychiatrist is labouring under the misapprehension that I am an ‘interesting person;’ further to this, she seems to believe that my refusal to acknowledge that other people might see me as such is systematically sabotaging my ability to interact socially with other people.
I don’t have the heart to explain to her that I am in fact an insipid, tawdry little woman who spends the lion’s share of her waking life sitting alone in a windowless room, hacking-out a thesis that nobody cares about. As such, this morning I opted to forgo my usual routine, and humour my psychiatrist by trying to interact socially with other people. Today was not, in all honesty, the best day for it, as my laptop’s display is irreparably damaged, meaning that, in order to work on my thesis, I essentially am chained to the monitor in the basement, but nevertheless, I decided to head-on down to my university’s Pride office. Armed with a print-out of my thesis draft and a red pen, it was my intention to denote all of the places where citations were required, while talking to my peers.
It turns-out that it’s actually rather difficult to socialize and work at the same time–particularly when you are feeling rather starved for social interaction. As such, I spent about two hours talking to anyone and everyone who was present…of whom, through an odd coincidence, virtually everyone was either an engineer or a scientist, and most of them were trans, so we actually had an awful lot to talk about.
While talking to a (cissexual) girl in second-year physics, I suddenly experienced a strong impression of familiarity. I knew that she hadn’t been in any of my labs last year, and that I hadn’t tutored her, so I couldn’t see where I could know her from. And then one of her friends said her name, and it suddenly clicked.
“Do you play trivia?” I inquired of her.
“Yeah, sometimes,” she replied.
“No, I mean, did you play it in high school?” (I myself was quite the hand at trivia in the day)
“Yes…” she said, clearly not knowing where I was going with this.
“Did you, by any chance, attend a trivia tournament in Edmonton in 2005?”
“Oh my god!” she exclaimed “How do you know!”
I explained that I was also at that tournament, playing for a different province, and that I remembered that she and I had actually spent most of our time there hanging out together. And now, through what seemed a remarkable coincidence, we were both there (on an entirely different part of the continent), in the same room, both taking physics.
“Oh, I’m sorry, I didn’t recognize you!” she explained once I had refreshed her memory somewhat.
“Well, in fairness,” I noted (suddenly conscious of my presentation) “I do look rather different now.”
Anyways, today’s moral lesson is this:
Unlikely events do happen, and the more events in which you participate, the more unlikely events you will observe.
Actually, come to think of it, this isn’t so much a moral lesson as it is a basic property of statistics.