Hitting it off, all by chance | Ann Oxrieder


Have you ever hit it off with someone the moment you met? I’m not talking about a first encounter between two people where sparks fly, romance ensues and they live happily ever after, but rather a chance meeting and a stimulating conversation that makes you wish you’d met years ago.

I had that experience in mid-October, when I found myself walking into the cavernous banquet hall at Meydenbauer Center to eat cold chicken and make a donation to Hopelink.

I invited myself to the event, after none of my usual table captain friends contacted me to twist my arm and request I bring my checkbook. I really wanted to hear guest speaker Jeannette Walls, the author of a page-turner of a memoir entitled “The Glass Castle.”

When I walked into the room and spotted the table number that matched the number on my name tag, I wondered if I would know anyone sitting there. I suspected I wouldn’t because I could hardly elbow my way through the crowd, which consisted of dozens of unfamiliar faces.

How disappointed I felt when I looked at the five people sitting at my table. No one I knew and all my age or beyond. Borrring, I thought, then reminded myself that the meal and check writing would be over in about 90 minutes and that I had come to hear the speaker.

However, as soon as I sat down and the table captain and her friend sitting next to me introduced themselves and started talking, I realized that my assessment couldn’t have been more inaccurate.

The time flew by as we covered more topics in an animated conversation than the television anchors try to squeeze into the evening news. I felt exhilarated. I’ve lived here for years and I imagine they have also. Why hadn’t our paths crossed sooner? Before I knew it, it was time to pay attention to the program, write our checks and say goodbye.

A chance encounter, a personal connection, and a lesson against making snap judgements, all in 30 minutes or less.  I’m already looking forward to next year’s event.


Ann Oxrieder has lived in Bellevue for 35 years. She retired after 25 years as an administrator in the Bellevue School District and now blogs about retirement at http://stillalife.wordpress.com/.

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