Math tells three of the saddest love stories.
Parallel lines have a lot in common but were never meant to meet.
You might think that is sad.
But a Tangent line meets once and drifts apart forever.
Which is pretty sad too.
And don’t forget Asymptotes, who can get closer and closer but can never get together.
Had I never been to PCMI, I never would have met the people who have become some of my closest friends. Fortunately, I did make those connections. Like a Tangent, we came together at a particular time and place. Our mathematical friendships fused and together we become greater than the sum of ourselves. I cherish these friendships and daresay I love these people.
Like math, I honestly didn’t know how important these people would become to me.
Maybe that’s why it hurts so much when we go back to living our Parallel lives, math teachers existing side-by-side in our own realities.
Recently I had another Tangential experience with two dear friends. We reconnected to celebrate a milestone birthday. When I tell you we made magic together, believe it. BOOM! The random memories I have of that 28-hour period we were together make me smile no matter what else is going on in my life right now.
My sad, Parallel life right now. God, I miss them terribly. And there are others; you know who you are.
But every conference we attend, every institute we present at, and every birthday we celebrate only give way to the Asymptotes. Our shared histories and common pursuits bring us closer and closer. And in the end lies the wondering: Will we ever be together again? Until THAT time…
Sigh…I can’t keep falling in and out of love like this. It hurts too much.
But math is not all sad love stories.
While I may be sad for my Asymptotic tendencies, I wouldn’t trade that closeness I feel with my math friends for the world. It’s not that I will NEVER see them again; of course I will. The question is when.
My Tangential points have brought me to where I am today, grateful for having had the experiences. Every meeting, every person, every love, every time.
And while we may be leading our Parallel lives, we are living them together, united in our shared destinies.
So here’s to gratitude, and happiness, and most of all, to love.
Lest we forget, we can become a pair of sine (you) and cosine (me) waves, overlapping with ever increasing frequency. Not only would we intersect for the rest of forever, but eventually we would intersect continuously.
Love you. Mean it.