And It Was Nearly Done, This Frail Traveling Coincidence

So apparently people Google themselves way more than I'd realized, and maybe sometimes this can get me in trouble, if, say, someone about whom I'd been talking on my website happens to do a little research on himself one day and gets directed here. Cast your mind back to December when I was in the middle of a pre-travel freakout and thought it would be funny to lighten the mood by telling the Internet about the time I sat next to a boy called Richard Cramp on a flight to Hong Kong circa 1992 (It was funny because.....well, Richard Cramp? Might, for short, be called.....Something Else Cramp? A Rude Word For A Body Part Cramp? Get it yet? It was funny WHEN I WAS TWELVE, alright, and stuck IN THE MIDDLE SEAT for fourteen hours with the high altitude most likely GOING TO MY HEAD. And also, JUST FOR THE RECORD, he was the one who told me he had an embarassing name. I probably wouldn't even have put two and two together otherwise. I wore big purple Disney glasses and read Sweet Valley High. My mind was hardly in the gutter.)

Anyway, it seems the Internet is a far, far, far smaller place than any of us imagined, because look what arrived in my comments box the other day! FROM RICHARD CRAMP HIMSELF! Behold:

"Whaddya know, my name appears here. I lived in Hong Kong from 1987 to 1989 and then Taiwan from 1990 onwards and I think it may have been me sitting next to you on that flight as I also went to boarding school in England (my parents lived in Taiwan at the time but I may have had to stop over in Hong Kong and get the connecting flight? Can't remember). Anyway, if it was me, I am glad I made you laugh on the trip! Don't worry, believe it or not, I can see the funny side..."

I'm glad he can see the funny side, because me? I can only really see the MORTIFICATION SIDE. And that's before I even remembered I used to wear the big purple Disney glasses. Richard Cramp even left a website address, which I went to; there were pictures of him (all grown up!) that pretty much confirmed that the two of us probably were seatmates on that Boeing 747 bound for Hong Kong in 1992. Seriously, who knew writing about people with whom you had a chance encounter close to a decade and a half ago could be so RISKY?

So, embarassing, yes, but in some ways also rather nice, no? I've always felt just a little bit bereft when the plane has touched down or the train has pulled into the station or the bus has stopped, and we all get off and the person with whom I've been chatting for several hours says goodbye, and we go our separate ways. I often think of a line from a Philip Larkin poem: "and it was nearly done, this frail traveling coincidence," and I've always thought it was rather sad that most of the people you travel with---especially if it's a long-haul flight, when you really get to know about their dysfunctional childhood, or their particular sleeping habits, or their willingness to grab an extra pack of pretzels for you from the cart when the flight attendant isn't looking---you end up never seeing again. So for this particular frail coincidence to end up being an even bigger coincidence fourteen years later is actually maybe kind of marvelous, don't you think?

But now I've just realized that if Richard Cramp decides to Google himself again, he's going to end up right back here. Where he'll wonder why I can't just shut the hell up about him already. I promise, Richard, I'm not making fun of your name anymore. As long as you're not making fun of my glasses.

1
Jemima
Jan 26, 2006

HEH HEH! (points and laughs) That'll learn you!

2
MetroDad
Jan 26, 2006

Oh man, that's weird! The world is truly getting smaller by the day. This internet thing might stick around after all. Meanwhile, I've got to go through all my old blog posts and delete all references to people with actual names! Dammit!

3
Adele
Jan 26, 2006

But why is it that you never bump into (or re-connect with via the internet) the people (and no offence here Mr Cramp, I've never even sat next to you on a coach...as far as I know) that you actually want to catch up with?

I mean where is Tanya Bolton? She was my best friend from ages 5 to 11 and was at that particular time period madly in love with Cliff Richard.

Hopefully she'll now google herself, find this, get back in touch with me - and soundly tell me off for the Cliff comment above.

One can but hope....

4
DM
Jan 26, 2006

I got an email from someone I was in a church play with almost 16 years ago. It was weird but cool as well. I hadn't mentioned him by name (don't remember him at all) but I mentioned the church and acting in a lot of the plays.

It is a small world. And I think I'm going to go Google myself right now.

5
Richard Cramp
Jan 26, 2006

If you think MY name's funny..... well, on a flight I took last year I sat next to a massively pregnant chick named Gretchen Crumpacker!!!!!!!!

6
Susie
Jan 26, 2006

Richard Cramp! I love your sense of humour! When I first opened this post I thought Naked Girl Magnet Greg had found this blog. I mean how terrible would that be? Though I suppose if Richard Cramp whom you haven't seen in 14 years can find it, Greg who used to live next door can find it too!

7
Meg
Jan 26, 2006

Susie, I thought the SAME thing. And I wanted to ask if he knew where the hammock was, really. But I doubt Richard knows.

I rarely find anything startling about myself on the internet, save for the one time that someone quoted something I said on Jason Kottke's website and made it into a whole page.

Why did he do that?

It wasn't even that bright a quote. But that will teach me to say half-bright things in public places.

Eh, no it won't.

8
Gretchen Crumpacker
Jan 26, 2006

You Dick. I resent that remark. Did I ever tell you my father was a Dick? But my husband and I decided we didn't want our sons to be Dicks because . . . OH MY GOD.

9
Emily
Jan 26, 2006

I believe that my husband's family is the only family with their last name in the entire country. Which is why I am terrified to Google myself, because should something bizarre come up, I cannot blame it on someone else with the same name. No, it would be ME. And I cannot face that kind of possibility on a Thursday.

10
pea
Jan 26, 2006

(you are so not my creepy coworker, and I'm sure your coworkers think you are just kind and thoughtful - I promise!)

Now I want to listen to The Cramps.

11
Nancy
Jan 26, 2006

I am such a sad non-entity on the google search: in part, because both my maiden and married name are not exactly setting the world afire. Very common. Well, not common as in cheap and whorish (though...), but certainly prevelant. Sadly, there is a woman with my exact same maiden name who lives in my home town and makes jewelery OUT OF HAIR. She calls it hair art. It pains me a little to think that some ex-boyfriend will wonder what ever happened to that cheap and whorish Nancy R___ and then scoff to his friends that I ended up a hair artiste.

Dick Cramp. That's gotta hurt. Ho ho! Still funny! (Sorry Richard, I am apparently ten years old). Get this though: my sister dated a guy named Bob Hurlbutt. HURLBUTT. Awful.

12
barbie2be
Jan 26, 2006

this is precisely why I never use anyone's names in my blog. i only use initals. of course now that i actually have more than one person in my life with the same initials it is getting kind of confusing. not for me, because i know who i am talking about... but for the reader. good thing no one reads my blog but me. :)

and for the record, there is nothing wrong with doing a vanity search on google... you would be surprised what you might find.

13
Ben Crumpacker
Jan 26, 2006

Gretchen's husband here. There are attorneys in So. Cal named Richard Weiner [he incorrectly pronounces it Weener, compounding his misery]; and Richard Seaman [Dick Seaman!]. Other inspired names here include a Korean co. named Suk Il Dong [don't]; Brown Material Road, near Lost Hills, Ca. [it does NOT cross the Hershey Highway]; and a realtor named Monique Pancake [Is she stacked? Does she taste better with syrup and butter? etc.] On Santa Catalina Island, I once met the owner of a power boat named Wanker. His wife seized the chance to name it during their divorce, and it stuck. Finally, my personalized license plate is UBERK. It ostensibly refers to my alma mater UC Berkeley; but it could be a quick and easy way to insult the entire world, if I was so inclined. Have a weird day.

14
Eric
Jan 26, 2006

I sat next to a nice young woman on one flight, who was friendly and talkative. My girlfriend at the time was a dancer with a local modern dance group, and it turned out this girl danced as well, so we hit it off. We had a fine flight, and exchanged email addresses, and she got off for a connecting flight in Chicago.

Sometime after that, as I was flying over a little wrinkled mountain range, a bunch of puzzle pieces connected in my head, and a few things she had said that made no sense suddenly clicked.

She wasn't a dancer. She was a STRIPPER!

And I, apparently, am sheltered and ignorant of the ways of the world. And she did not email me. But she might, conceivably, google herself, so you can bet I will never write about her story on the internet.

Oops.

15
Julie
Jan 26, 2006

Disney glasses? Those actually sound cool. My oldest and dearest friend still makes fun of the glasses I wore in elementary school - Battlestar Galactica. Apparently I was destined for geekdom.

And that's why I also wonder who might happen upon my blog, via Google or otherwise. They'll surely out me as the Battlestar-Galactica-glasses-wearing-geek that I once was, and I will forever lose the wordly-wise-contact-lens-wearing-sophisticate image that I have tried in vain to cultivate.

What a cool coincidence. Cue the Disney music - "It's a small world after all!"

16
lizardek
Jan 26, 2006

Your comments are nearly the best part of the whole story! :D

17
Richard Cramp (the real one)
Jan 26, 2006

Whoah! I didnt want this to go this far...can i just clarify that i was searching my name on Google to see if i could find my CV on online employment agencies as i lost the disc and happened to come across this blog with my name on it, which is why i decided to leave a message. Anyway, someone above posted a comment and signed it with my name and its not me! If you look below, you will see a message sent from a Gretchen Crumpacker or something who has emailed me today with a pretty rude email. Sorry about this, wish i never started. Anyway, dont feel bad, its ok!

18
Nancy
Jan 26, 2006

How about that NASCAR (OK, I don't know if he is NASCAR or that other kind of car racing) guy whose name is Dick Trickle! How'd you like to go through life with a name like that?

In the town where I grew up there was a family with the last name of Penas, and I didn't even realize that was a funny name until I was in college. That is because I am a LOSER.

I also went to college with a woman named Candy Rock. Man, parents are mean.

19
Gretchen
Jan 27, 2006

Rude? Not at all; I apologize if I misled. Merely puerile.

20
Lori
Jan 27, 2006

Just don't go naming ex-boyfriends (like I did). Especially if you're writing about how you just found out they got married - because you googled them (as I did). I still cringe just thinking about it.

21
Daydreams and Musings
Jan 30, 2006

Sorry to be so waaayyy behind on my NBB reading! I think it's fabulous that he found the post and commented. How cool.