We all know that if we connect the right dots, we can eventually find ourselves connected to Kevin Bacon in less than six steps – our “six degrees of separation”. I can make that connection in four, so if you can’t find your own way to Kevin and you know me, you can now make it in five and have one to spare to include everyone Kevin might know or have met. It’s a nice analogy to prove that we’re all connected in some way; it’s just a matter of finding those connections – you just have to know the right questions to ask.
A long time ago, in a galaxy – no wait, that’s another story. Still, it was a long time ago, I was online talking to the people I always talked to online and preparing to fight the big battle. Someone in the group (the Vegas gang) mentioned that they knew a guy from Austin. (It sounded like, I knew a guy from Dallas once, do you know him?) I figured we’d talk about all things Austin, hit the highlights that everyone knows – the drag, the capitol, the LBJ library and maybe popular restaurants – maybe we both went to UT or either he walked around campus when I was at UT and we might have seen each other.
David, the guy from Austin, gets online and gets the conversation started. “So Beth, do you know…?” Here we go. Yes, I know a John. Was he about 5’10”? Brown hair? Brown eyes? Wears clothing? Breathes both in AND out? Must be the same guy. “Beth, do you know Rocco?” Ok, weird. I knew a Rocco and after much back and forth, I not only knew the right Rocco, but I’d met this guy David when I was 17. I had one of those moments where your heart races and you’re typing as fast as you can because your mind can’t wrap itself around the fact that of a million plus subscribers on this particular game, I found the one guy that I was connected to by chance. On that day, my world became a hair smaller.
Fast forward to this week. I had joined the HOA boards for our little community with the thought of becoming more active or at least meeting some of my neighbors. One of the guys around the corner posted a really nice note on my guestbook because he’d found website through the boards. I got it in my head to sort the member list on the boards by website to see who else was out there posting – what did my neighbors have to say. There were only a handful of websites, so I methodically poked each one hoping to find someone like me or maybe just learn something new for the week.
I came across one website I’d seen before, which was odd. I’m not much of a net surfer so people’s personal websites typically make an impression on me. I prodded that website a bit, seeing the same funky cool purses and clothing that I remembered to belong to a friend’s wife, Jennifer. In fact, I’d been sent the website link some time ago when a friend of theirs suggested I look at all the cool things Jennifer was into. I couldn’t get my head around it though, because in my mind these guys still lived in central Austin, so I spent a good 15 minutes trying to convince myself that I was wrong – that just because the website said “Jennifer” and the picture of her on her personal blog looked like Jennifer, this wasn’t Jennifer because I’m an island all alone in Pflugerville. No one I know lives here.
I finally sent Jennifer a note and sure enough, Jennifer, her husband Bradley and their two girls not only live in my neighborhood, they live two blocks away. They’ve been here the entire time.
Between the posting on my guestbook and discovering two very cool people that I know actually live here, this place has become a little more livable, a little more friendly and I can stop mourning the loss of Matt & April (the cool hipsters that moved from across the street).
It really is a small world.