On knowing and being known

“Somewhere, something incredible is waiting to be known.” ― Carl Sagan

This past Sunday, I was headed back from Balboa park deep in thought after a beautiful (and free) organ concert when I realized I wasn’t using a GPS to tell me where and when to turn. This seems like a silly realization but when you’ve been nomading like I have it was huge. I came to San Diego to find community – to know and be known – and this was the first sign of these puzzle pieces of community coming together.

knew how to get home.

I had a home.

I had a central point that I could locate and be pulled back to.

I was giddy when I realized this. I’ve had a variety of these moments since I moved here 50 days ago. From knowing how to get home to knowing the places people talk about, I can literally feel my community being built up around me as my circle of knowledge expands.

“Well, will it be the usual, Anne?” – Brandon (the barista! I know his name!) welcomed me as I walked into a coffee shop nearby. At first, I was so overwhelmed thinking about how kind this fellow was when I realized for most people this is the norm. Ah to be known! To have my coffee order be known! To go somewhere enough times that they know what you want before you even walk in the door! It feels magical.

I was asked by the organizer of a pickup soccer group I went to, “Will you be here next week?” I wanted to shout “YES! & the week after that & the week after that & the week after that…”. I was so excited by the fact that I could come back week after week to this group that I could hardly sleep that night out of pure excitement. I could return to something where I previously had so much fun so easily! I would be known. I could count on that being there for me week after week.

“Where were you last weekend?!” The gym owner where I go blurted this out the second he saw me walk in the door. I, Anne McCarthy, was missed. What a strange sensation! I’m used to people not even knowing where I am (including my poor parents) let alone expecting me to be somewhere. It took me so off guard I could barely get the words out about a friend in town visiting. Each time I walk into the gym now, we exchange a fistbump and quick banter about our workouts for the day. I love it.

For a week straight, I drove to mission beach to read and watch the sunset. Why? Because I could. I could return there and I could see the beauty of the sunset day after day. How could I resist?! To experience beauty and to return to it so easily is just precious. I’ve seen so many wonderful sights in my travels that I wish I could soak up. I’m doing that here.

As my time here continues, I can’t wait to be able to answer questions like… What’s your favorite coffee shop? Favorite brewery? What’s the weather like in the summer? Should I put on a jacket tonight? Where’s the best place to watch the sunset? I’ll ramble off answers without a second thought as I scour over all the knowledge I’ve accumulated of a place I know (and knows me).

Oh, it is so wonderful to be known. It is wonderful to know. I hope to never take these kinds of interactions for granted again.



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