Parallel lives

I was sitting in my office one day last week when someone stopped by to ask the way to Building 4. This isn’t uncommon, as our buildings are a maze of twisty little passages, all alike. But something about this guy seemed familiar. I could see he had a contractor badge but not his name. What was it? Joe something.

I hit the company directory and found the answer. There was the name I remembered, apparently now working for McKinsey. And in Redmond.

This was so uncanny. Joe and I had been at Virginia’s Governors School for Science and Math together in the summer of 1989; had gone to the University of Virginia together; and had started work at American Management Systems at the same time. Now, a year and a half after completing his MBA at Michigan, he was in Redmond on a consulting engagement.

Parallel lives. Really parallel: Joe and I never hung out much in college, he was in a different business unit at AMS and spent much of his time in Germany, he did his MBA at a different school a year earlier, and he won’t be in Redmond after next week.

But the final coincidence is that he was at Michigan with my friend and former AMS co-worker and teammate Larry Weyer. If three coincidences are a conspiracy, what are four???