Blog by Sumana Harihareswara, Changeset founder

16 Sep 2020, 7:13 a.m.

I Miss You, Friends And Strangers

I met you in a storytelling workshop taught by someone later discredited.

I met you in the front-row fandom for a now-defunct sketch comedy troupe.

I met you at a women's networking event where you were the only person I talked with who wasn't tedious.

I met you -- you remember that it was a Redditors' meetup, but it must have been cross-pollinated with something else, maybe a scifi thing?

I met you through work -- we were remote colleagues who saw each other several times a year, and then you moved to New York.

I met you through a meditation workshop you led.

I found your blog through a link from a friend, then met you at a scifi thing, maybe a party or a Cory Doctorow reading.

You, I first met at a party, I'm sure.

I met you at WisCon.

I met you through a friend I went to middle school with.

I met you when a colleague let me regularly cowork at the nonprofit where he and you worked.

I met you when we were at Recurse Center together.

We probably first met at an Electronic Frontier Foundation thing, maybe here, maybe in San Francisco.

I met you through your girlfriend, now wife.

I can't quite remember how we first met because we're connected in a few ways.

We met on the MTA when one of us recognized the other's stickers/t-shirt.

I met you through someone I met at WisCon.

I met you through Leonard's writing group.

I met you because we volunteer on Python packaging tools together.

I met you at the now-ended Open Source Bridge conferences.

I met you in a local political activism group.

I think I met you in a friend's storyreading circle.

I met you through fandom on Dreamwidth, and then invited you to a meal.

I met you through fandom on Dreamwidth, and then you recognized me at an N.K. Jemisin reading.

I met you at PyCon or Open Source Bridge, I think.

I met you through a Wikimedian friend.

I met you when we were undergraduate students together, twenty years ago.

I met you through the business you run.

I met you through the nonprofit you ran.

I met you through the ex you're now estranged from.

And so on.*

I have lived in New York City for ~15 years, and over that time I've grown several local friendships, some lighter and some stronger. I miss seeing you.

I was a kind of isolated teenager who had very few friends. I'll amend that. When I was in high school, I had one friend at the "talk on the phone about something other than homework" level. I invited people to come see a movie with me** for a birthday and no one came.

Over the decades since, I've become much more accustomed to making, having, and regularly seeing friends. In a September week last year I had breakfast with one friend and lunches with two friends, not counting the folks I saw at various clubs, groups, and events.

Every few weeks I contact some friends and arrange phone or videocalls. Some of you I haven't talked with in way too long and we're more acquaintances now. And I talk with people in other places a lot -- I have friends spread out so far. If my New York-area friends may as well be in other countries, a friend in Asheville may as well be in another solar system, for how impossible it feels to imagine that we'll see each other again.

For the past few months, my friend Mike Pirnat DJed a radio show on his old college radio station. His usual outro is Vera Lynn's "We'll Meet Again" (don't know where, don't know when). I've listened to it dozens of times now and only today am I realizing how I could read it as not descriptive but prescriptive.

Right now I am doggy-paddling to keep myself above water, and part of that is keeping up with the friends I have made, especially the local friends. But someday I want to meet a stranger and make friends with them again. That's a vision to look forward to.

* Sorry if I missed you - I'm sure that as soon as I hit Post I'll think of three more to add, and then three more....

**In retrospect, Beyond Rangoon was not the most appealing selection for most teens.


18 Sep 2020, 16:10 p.m.

I miss ya! <3