An event known to wreak havoc in the lives of ordinary mortals.
Most people run around in a variety of different circles. These circles may contain close personal friends, people they work with (containing a subset of friends from work), family (which can also have numerous subsets), neighbors, old friends from school, and so on and so forth. Usually these circles are kept as seperate entities from each other. Rarely does one associate with their favorite drinking and pool playing buddy and mother at the same time.
We go through our lives consciously or unconsciously keeping the various circles we travel through life in seperate from each other. They develop into what can be called different worlds. We even develop personality adjustments for these different worlds. For example, one may be known to swear on a consistent basis when with friends at the pub, but at grandma's Thanksgiving extravaganza the harshest word used might be "overcooked."
But then, unavoidably, times come in our lives where our different worlds collide. This can cause periods of awkwardness and a need for damage control. When worlds colliding goes better than expected, which is often the case, a sense of relief follows.
When the various worlds are fairly evenly represented, the collision can be explosive. The collision might also be more gentle than when one world has fewer representatives than the other. The number of differences can determine the type of chemical reaction that occurs. Two groups with radically different philosophies and viewpoints can cause an explosive reaction. Two groups with a number of shared beliefs and ideas can produce a positive and productive reaction.
At a wedding we see the worlds colliding effect with multiple worlds entering into each others' gravitational pulls. The various worlds of the bride and groom come into contact with each other, often for the first time, and no one is quite sure how they will interact. A funeral is another example, but this is often difused by the shared feelings of grief.
More extreme examples involve one world being outflanked by another. A couple years ago I saw this happen at a company Christmas party. A gay co-worker who hid his sexual preference from most of the company was deciding whether or not to bring his significant other to the party. After much deliberation, he decided it was the right thing to do. Why should his partner be any less welcome or worthy of attendance than someone else's wife or girlfriend? His nervousness and paranoia swelled as the time of the event drew closer. As he walked in with his friend, very few people reacted with anything other than positive feelings. Some saw him as brave. A few people made unpleasant comments, usually under their breath or to people they felt shared their unaccepting viewpoint, but for the most part the worlds collided without explosion or pain.
The impact of worlds colliding can sometimes produce unexpected results. Two people from two different worlds may hit it off so well that a world crossover merger can occur. In unique situations, two worlds can actually become one after their collide, as representatives from the two worlds decide they want to be part of each others' worlds.
Very little can be done to ease the trepidation a person feels when they know worlds are about to collide. Questions hang in the air like cigar smoke. What will they say? What will they think? Will they get along? Will they hit it off? The important point to remember is that our worlds are in some way a reflection of ourselves. We have embraced these different worlds of our lives for different reasons, and yet they are all filtered through us. Remember this the next time your old friends from college come to town to visit and you take your new friend with you and meet them for a drink...