Tonight I attended the first session of Curious Tales of the Talmud, a six-week class. I hope to write more about the class itself later (good stuff), but for now, something else:
The world is a small place. The class is offered by Chabad, with whom I have no prior connection. There were about a dozen people in the class. One shows up at a writing group I'm part of, one is a user on Mi Yodeya (I didn't know there were any other locals, but I'm a moderator and I use my real name online, so when we did introductions that person recognized my name), and the person sitting next to me recognized me from a past Pennsic. boggle
This last was an interesting story, and I wish I remembered our past encounter better (it obviously made an impression on him). He said he had talked to me while walking in the Pennsic marketplace on Shabbat many years ago, and I had said that I could look at the crafts being offered as we walked by but I couldn't shop then, and he took that as a nudge to do better about Shabbat. Now that's not something I would just blurt out so there must have been some background there, something I don't remember and he didn't tell me tonight. So here it is, something like ten years later, and he's part of the Chabad community, "not 100% shomer shabbat but getting there", and apparently a passing comment I made had some tiny part in that? Um, wow. Perhaps I will learn more at next week's class.