Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Small world story #35 (or 2 degrees of separation)

Regular readers will recall the previous 'small world' story where a fellow I work with was the son of my middle school Industrial Arts teacher in Hopkinsville, Kentucky. This comes close to topping that one:

I recently decided to try and see about attending church on the local military base and was able to procure the phone number for the command chaplain. I made an appointment to meet him on base in his office to discuss the details. Of course, one of the first questions that any two Americans in Korea will start with is some variation on the "where are you from" theme. When I responded with my hometown of Knoxville, Tennessee I received a,
"Get the heck out of town!"
To which I replied, "I will not!"
We started a conversation that not only included knowing similar places as one would expect from two people hailing from the same place but as it turns out, knowing many of the same people from the small suburban Knoxville town right down to my across-the-street neighbor and a few familiar classmates. Topped off with having actually been in the same place at the same time (Tragically though, the funeral of a close classmate of mine).
I have had other stories in my life: running into my high school Latin teacher in the Chicago O'Hare airport, several hometown-distant chance run-ins with people who know my father, passing by a high school classmate in the Tokyo airport, just freak meetings that really make you wonder if Milgram didn't have it right with his small world phenomenon (aka six degrees of separation).
I wonder who I'll run into next?

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