An Unlikely Start to a Friendship: Are We Them?

Serendipity found us while we were on vacation.

logo of water sports vendor on St. John
Photo credit © Carol Labuzzetta, 2023

Sitting at the Tap & Still, a restaurant bar on St. John, after a full day at the beach two days ago, my husband and I were having an early dinner. The place was not crowded but starting to fill up. A group of four couples arrived while we were eating — probably all in their 70s — acting kind of loud and goofy. They were all very friendly with each other and touchy-feely so it was hard to tell whom each person belonged to.

Another couple had arrived that we did not take notice of at first. Then, the guy — someone about our age — tapped my husband on the shoulder and said, “Hey, I was just wondering…Are We Them?” We laughed but what he meant was, are we that old? In fact, we were 10–15 years younger than this group.

We had just finished eating and a conversation started up between the similarly aged couple and us. It was the usual —

Them: “Where are you from?”

Us: “Wisconsin”

Them: “Cincinnati”

Us: “Oh, we grew up in New York! The Buffalo area.”

Them: “Sorry about the Bills.”

Us: “Sorry about the Bengals.”

Together: “Our teams have great quarterbacks. Yes, yes, they do!”

What followed was, where are you staying? What have you done so far? Isn’t the island (St. John) great?

As it turns out this couple had been visiting St. John for the last 30 years! They admitted to having secrets about things like parking, beaches, and restaurants. We hit it off but they still needed to eat and we needed to catch the ferry. So, we left.

Immediately, I felt regret. Once again, we met people we hit it off with while on vacation and did not even know their names! This happened once before, in the fall of 2021, while at the Grand Canyon. We met an Indian couple with two kids while hiking the Bright Angel Trail down into the canyon. We met them again, upon our return back to the rim and ended up talking to them for 1–2 hours! We left, not knowing their names or anything other than they lived in Houston.

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Carol Labuzzetta, MS Natural Resources, MS Nursing

Environmental educator with a passion for teaching youth using the science of awe. Traveler, Photographer, Author, Wife, Mother. Top Writer & Boosted Writer x3