Larry Hymes and Ben Stiller–Larry’s Facebook photo
I wrote a blog post months ago about a guy who I always see around New York City but never say hello to because he claims he doesn’t know me. His name is Larry Hymes and he lives in Los Angeles but travels to Manhattan frequently. He used to live near Queens College and I lived in Hilltop Village in Hollis, Queens, maybe five miles apart. I knew him for almost two years, 16 to 18 years old. He was at my Sweet 16 Party the night John F. Kennedy was killed. We were friends (no sweetheart crush) and saw each other once a week and spoke on the telephone to each other practically every night.
Larry was very good looking, the perfect example of tall, dark and handsome. He wasn’t a scholar and neither was I. We were a perfect friend match. Larry dated a few of my girlfriends, but no long term relationships. I don’t remember what happened but we lost touch.
About seven years ago, just after my mother died, I couldn’t sleep and I started searching the Internet for lost friends. This was way before Facebook and LinkedIn. Larry was one of many I was searching out. Somehow, someway, I found him on the Internet because he had a career in men’s clothing and there were a lot of pictures of him.
I researched his email and sent him a message. “Larry, surprise. This is Lois. Wow, I can’t believe I found you. Long time. How are you?” That was all I said. A few days later, I get an email back. “You sound familiar. Tell me something about you.”
I was shocked. “Tell you something about me? Are you crazy?” are the words I told myself. I know a lot of years have passed but how can you be friendly with someone for two years, go to the gal’s Sweet 16, and not remember her? He spent more time talking to me than most other people in his life.
Since we reconnected, every once in a while we send Facebook messages to each other but nothing serious. A” Happy Birthday” and a “Like” for a comment. Larry is a Facebook friend now but he still doesn’t remember me from way back when. The really weird thing is how I keep seeing him all over the city. The first time I spotted him was on 58th and Sixth. He was walking west. I was in a taxi and I was flabbergasted. I passed him right by. This happens two or three times a year for the last seven years. One time Eliot was driving our car right near our office and he quickly turned the corner (something Eliot is infamous for) and almost knocked a guy over. When I looked out the passenger window to see if the guy was all right, it was Larry. I just slid down in the seat.
About three years ago, Larry started showing up in the same restaurants I frequented. At first I would duck and then I realized he said he didn’t know me so I stopped doing that. A few months ago, I had his name on Four Square, a location-based app that tells you where people are located at a particular time. When I “checked in” with Four Square I saw he was at the same restaurant as me. I looked around the room and spotted Larry. I went over to the table on purpose to ask him and his friend if they knew the time. They answered politely. I stood there long enough to see if Larry recognized me. Nothing.
When I told Eliot and my girlfriend Ruth about the encounter, I got accused of exaggerating. I am not stalking Larry, but it’s very funny that I bump in to him more than most people I know.
Last night, Eliot and I went to a Broadway Show, Chaplin. We were waiting for the show to start and I once again saw Larry. I said to Eliot, “There’s Larry.” Eliot said that was not him. Eliot said it didn’t look at all like the pictures I showed him. “Eliot, that is him,” I insisted. Eliot quipped, “Sorry, different nose.” I kept insisting that it was him but then the show started.
At intermission, Eliot and I stayed in our seats but Larry walked by. I didn’t yell out his name but after the show Eliot and I looked for him. He must have rushed out. Once again, Eliot said it wasn’t him. So late last night I sent Larry a Facebook message:
Lois: Are you in NY right now ? Thought I saw you
Like • • 15 hours ago •
Larry Hymes: Yes, where did you see me? Why didn’t you say hello? I am going back to L.A. Today.
8 hours ago via mobile • Like
Lois: At Chaplin, the broadway show. Were you there?
7 hours ago via mobile • Like
Larry Hymes Yes I was.
3 hours ago via mobile • Like
The saga continues.