Just as I was finishing getting dressed in the YMCA locker room, this old black woman walks in with her walker, and starts talking to me, and telling me that she is 96 year old, and that she was on TV this morning. The local station did a segment on her, as part of a series on the new President’s inauguration Tuesday. Juanita is no ordinary lady. She is the oldest African-American in our county, and was born in 1913, in Oklahoma City. I find the fact that Juanita witnessed so much of our American history, and lived long enough to be a part of Tuesday’s celebration, incredibly moving. We probably spent a few minutes together, at the most, and I may never see her again. Yet, that random connection with her was filled with meaning, and I am not about to forget it any time soon.
Juanita made me think of the many connections I have made on the Web with perfect strangers. Fleeting encounters, often times with no follow up, and yet precious. Tweets sending me support when I felt down, or answering a question just when I needed it. Comments on my blog that made me think, this person and I are made of the same cloth. Moments shared during the Presidential campaign, on Twitter 2008 Election. I have been asked how can I be following 2,000 people on Twitter? My answer is, precisely for the chance of these random connections. Time limited exchanges packed with feelings, or thoughts, and during which I was able to give and/or receive lots.
As the world becomes more and more one, and technology breaks down the barriers of communication, it is my sense that random connections on the Web will take more and more space in our lives. What we may give up in continuity, we gain in in the moment experiences.