It's a small world, but I wouldn't want to have to paint it. ~ Steven Wright
Kevin Bacon’s six degrees of separation is a misnomer; after these past few weeks, I’m down to maybe three. Widely divergent parts of my life are colliding in the oddest ways:
Our daughter is dating a young man who once was engaged to the daughter of a woman I went to high school with, and with whom I’ve recently reconnected because of our thirty-fifth (!) reunion that woman’s older sister went to school with my mother.
That young man’s mother is friends with another friend of mine, a woman I worked with back in Toledo for six years whom I haven’t seen for almost that long.
At a Labor Day open house in the Dayton area, we met a barbershop quartet (we travel in the most fascinating circles!) who knows the choir director from the high school our children attended in a suburb of Toledo because he also sings barbershop.
One member of the quartet is dating the ex of a lawyer I worked with while at federal court (again in Toledo…hmmm) over fifteen years ago.
Another reconnect from high school recently “friended” a man on Facebook (related somehow to a teacher our children had in school) who shares a mutual friendship with yet another man I worked with for several years, none of whom are in the same field.
I’ll stop before it gets any more convoluted, and without even mentioning other bizarre connections that appear on Facebook and Twitter on a regular basis.
Is it really a small world, or has social networking simply drawn our circles closer and made us more aware of tenuous connections? Employers and professors, colleagues and family, writers and friends – it’s more and more difficult to remember who fits where, and shares what pieces of my life. Anyone who thinks they can operate in complete anonymity if they have any sort of online presence is sadly mistaken. At another recent gathering (I’m really not a social butterfly, but it events happens), the host was nonplussed when several guests mentioned using Google to find her street address. We all connect in the ether but often have trouble locating each other in real life, and she didn’t think about providing that information with the emailed invitation. It can be disconcerting to realize just how much data about us is available with only the most cursory Internet search.
But that’s life in the technology world, small or not.