Being on a holiday away from London and thus having an infinite amount of free time on my hands, I decided to revisit a classic, one of my favorite film : 2 Days in Paris, by Julie Delpy. The film, if you haven't seen it, is as funny as it gets -although more enjoyable if you are fluent in both English and French. It it set in Paris, and follows couple Marion and Jack (franco-american couple) for two days.
One thing that caught my attention in the film was Marion's monologue on the 'Collective dynamics of small world networks theory' (cf video above). Although she doesn't believe in it, and although I was dubious at first, I have to admit that times have proven me wrong. It is incredible that in a city as big and diverse as London, you always end up bumping into people you know. Granted, everyone in their twenties hang out in the same spots and your chances of running into your neighbours on a holiday trip increase if you stand under the Big Ben, but why is it that we always have to see those people?
Bumping into people you love is one thing. Bumping into old hook-ups who never answered your call and people who have wronged you (Or, the opposite, *gasp*!) while you are taking a casual stroll on a lazy Sunday is a terrible offense that should be punishable by law. This may not occur to you very often, but it does to me. I have bumped into people who were in London for only one day, parents of high school friends, teachers, old hook-ups (the number of these appearances are extremely high and I suspect a serious case of stalking), ex-friends, and even animals (There is a black dog that I always bump into around Shoreditch).
What I am trying to say, though, is that if you pay enough attention, you start noticing that your mind is subconsciously looking for the familiar. You don't accidentally bump into that old lover of yours at the food market. In a crowd that big, some energy pushes you to the familiar. In a room full of strangers, it will make you hear the voice of the one person you know in a louder volume. It will make your eyes search for people you know, acknowledge their locations and your feet will subconsciously take you to them. If you pay enough attention, you notice that encounters are coincidental -but you noticing it comes under your brain's frenetic and unconscious search for the familiar.
So, next time you are out and about, try and and focus -see how easily your brain tricks you into going back to the familiar.