Worlds Colliding

You don’t have be a big fan of Seinfeld to get a kick out of the show’s perspective on American life in NYC, even–or especially–if you disagree with it.

One of the most memorable Seinfeld episodes for me aired during the seventh season, when George was engaged to Susan. In the episode, Elaine realizes she has very few female friends, so she invites Susan to see an art exhibit with her. Both George and Kramer are very upset about this. According to Kramer, everyone knows that bringing friends from different places together is a recipe for disaster. To paraphrase Kramer’s view, when worlds collide, they explode. Sure enough, Susan spends time bonding with Jerry and Elaine–forget that she doesn’t seem to care for them all that much– and the episode ends with George being dragged out of a movie theater by security guards while muttering to himself incomprehensibly.

Although the episode was hilarious, I wholeheartedly disagree that introducing friends from different “worlds” is a bad thing. I’ve always been a connector of people. Even growing up, I always wanted my home friends to meet my sleepaway camp friends. I was certain they’d love each other as much as I loved all of them, and the few times we all got together, the group melded fabulously. Having moved around a bit, I’ve always felt that introducing my friends from different places to each other ended in positive outcomes.

An example that comes to mind is when my Boston area work friend Meredith relocated to Southern California just after she had her first child, a girl. It’s lonely moving across the country as a new mom, so I connected Meredith with my college friend Zoe who was already living in SoCal and had also just had her first daughter. Before I knew it, Zoe and Meredith became fast new mom friends at a time when they both needed the boost.

All of this has been on my mind after spending last weekend in Chicago. My daughter, who is a senior in college, had decided to head to Chicago with two friends for her fall break. They were planning to stay with Julia, so they asked me to meet them there too. How could I say no?

We had a blast! I loved spending time with my daughter and getting to know her friends better. And, of course, it’s always a treat for me to visit with Julia. As luck would have it, Julia was set to make her comedy debut at The Laughing Academy, so we all went to the show. Guess what: she’s really funny! In addition to the comedy show, I got to meet some of the local friends that Julia’s been telling me about. I truly enjoyed meeting them, and I can understand why Julia enjoys their company so much.

The weekend also included a short visit with my dear friend Marci, who I met ages ago moving into my freshman dorm room in college back in the late 1980s. She lives right near Julia, and the first time they met was at my wedding more than 25 years ago. By now, they are old friends too. As I sat with Marci and Julia watching them interact, I became more convinced than ever how wrong George and Kramer were about colliding worlds–at least for the rest of us.

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