This I Believe

Lana - San Marcos, Texas
Entered on November 29, 2007
Age Group: 18 - 30
Themes: love
  • Podcasts

    Sign up for our free, weekly podcast of featured essays. You can download recent episodes individually, or subscribe to automatically receive each podcast. Learn more.

  • FAQ

    Frequently asked questions about the This I Believe project, educational opportunities and more...

  • Top Essays USB Drive

    This USB drive contains 100 of the top This I Believe audio broadcasts of the last ten years, plus some favorites from Edward R. Murrow's radio series of the 1950s. It's perfect for personal or classroom use! Click here to learn more.

I Believe in the Statistically Improbable

I was sitting alone in the LBJ outdoor amphitheater studying my Communications 1310 notes when I felt a tap on the shoulder. I looked up to see a terribly attractive young man with magnetic blue eyes and dirty-blonde hair that fell down to the middle of his back. He asked me if I cared share a cigarette and a conversation. I got a better look at the guy with the long hair, and something about him struck me. It wasn’t a romantic feeling, but a curiosity. I knew that I recognized him from some place familiar. I got a split-second déj– vu of seeing the same young man with long hair and a tattoo covering half his chest sitting on a picnic table, magnetic blue eyes staring out into space. It took me awhile to finally place where I recognized him from, but I eventually realized that he lived in the same apartment complex as my boyfriend. His name was Dustin.

“Don’t you know who I am?” I asked hopefully. “Well, no…Am I supposed to know who you are?” he replied with a look of confusion on his face. I told him about how I had seen him sitting outside of his apartment on most nights that I visited my boyfriend, and we laughed about the remarkably low odds of our situation. I waved goodbye and walked away, looking back once more and smiling at the ridiculous coincidence of a person that I had just met. What were the chances of Dustin unknowingly picking his neighbor’s girlfriend to talk to out of a crowd of strangers?

Over the next few weeks, my three-year relationship with my boyfriend finally collapsed. Soon after, Dustin and I became inseparable. There were no social barriers with him. We skipped the small talk. I cursed in front of him on our first date and he was completely unaffected. Through a series of other extremely improbable and odd coincidences, such as the fact that we are both English majors and have a mutual obsession with Anthony Burgess, our friendship has only strengthened over time.

There are roughly 27,000 students at the university I attend in San Marcos, Texas, and approximately 30,000 citizens in the town of San Marcos altogether. I’ve recently begun to spend more time thinking about how many random strangers I pass in a given day, and the extremely low statistics of bumping into a stranger I’ve passed by before and developing a relationship or friendship with one of them, much less developing a friendship with someone whose personality is close to a mirror image of my own. I was never very analytical about this subject until the day I met Dustin. I still sit and think about the fact that I had been in the direct vicinity of a future best friend for days, upon weeks, upon months when visiting my ex-boyfriend at his apartment complex, and never had I expected to fall into this stranger and discover a wonderful friendship, in spite of the fact that we were both just faces in a crowd, and two in twenty-seven thousand.