Jun 9, 2008

Six Degrees or less… It’s TRUE!!! - San Diego, CA - May 2006

I recently finished Malcolm Gladwell’s The Tipping Point which by the way is awesome. (I also saw him speak in person last week at the ASTD Conference I attended in San Diego.) One of the points he makes is referencing the “Six Degrees of Separation” theory. The theory basically states that any two persons can be connected by six or fewer people.

Note to Reader: There is a slightly funny twist on this called “Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon,” which is note worthy but not worth going into… Google it!

Anyhow the point of this story is that I truly had a six degrees moment on my flight out to San Diego last weekend, so here goes.

So there I was minding my own business in my 11-F seat over the wing, two rows behind the exit row and down plops an early twenties guy in a camouflage baseball cap. He’s friendly and introduces himself. (For our purposes we’ll call him “G”.)

Additional Note to Reader: I am always slightly hesitant to begin conversations with people that I sit next to on airplanes. I know you are thinking, ‘but Lili, you’ve never met a stranger! I don’t understand???’ but when you’ve had a friend have the privilege of sitting next to THE "Debbie Downer" (That's for you Anna!) and learn the most intimate details of a perfect strangers life you become far more jaded and are slightly less likely to engage in conversation with the unknown, especially when you have to sit next to them for 4 and ½ hours.

With my ear buds shoved snugly into my ears and my crazy looking neck pillow positioned between me and the window I snuggled in for my long ride out to the west coast when I feel a soft tapping on my shoulder. The drink cart had arrived. “I’d like a Ginger Ail please.” I say to the flight attendant as I pull down my tray table.

“Don’t you think its funny how people really only order Ginger Ail on air planes?” says ‘G’. I’d never really thought about it before, but realized that really it’s true, but not to be out done, I nodded and said “Yeah, and punch, people also put Ginger Ail in punch.” He laughed and said that he’d never made punch before, but he would be sure to remember that. Thus it ensued. We began the inevitable airplane chit chat. Where are you from? Me: Memphis – G: Mississippi. Where are you going? Me and G: San Diego, CA. Are you traveling for business or pleasure? Me: Business – G: Fun! - He’s running the Marathon. If any of you know me, at the mention of the word “Marathon” my ears went from half-way listening to fully engaged. I’ve run four Marathons and 3 halves. I love running and love to find new people to talk to about running. We moved from idol chit chat to good conversation. We talked about sports and college. He asked where I went and I told him UT Knoxville, then asked him the same question. His answer was Furman University. I asked if it was the one in South Carolina and he said “Yes”. I told him that I’d had a room mate for one semester who’s twin sisters had gone to Furman and played soccer there, but it had been several years ago so he more than likely didn’t know them. He asked what her name was and I said “Rachel.” His Jaw dropped and he said her last name and after a slight pronunciation back and forth we discovered that it was the same family and the same girl!

So to make a long story short, ‘G’s’ room mate is one of Rachel’s twin sisters. So here are our Six Degrees or Less.

1. Starting with me: Rachel and I were room mates
2. Rachel has twin sisters that attended Furman University.
3. 'G' is room mates with one of Rachel's twin sisters.
4. 'G' and I sat next to each other on a flight from Memphis, TN to San Diego, CA.

WOW!!! What a small world!

Till Next Time,
Bon Voyage!


Sarah :) said...

That's cool. I've had that happen to me in Japan's airport at 3am. Funny how that works! Love you :)

Sarah :) said...

That's cool! I've had that happen to me in the Japan airport. Funny how that works! Love you, :)

Stephanie Sabbe said...

Lili, my grandma liked your card the most. I'm being totally serious. She called my mom and had her listen to it over the phone. Thanks again for doing that, you are such a sweet friend.

Anonymous said...

Hi, I think I'm in the mood to play catch up with all these comments! It's happy reading and writing! Well, in regard to this vignette, the gentleman that sits in the desk right next to mine has your same last name as it is now. He and his father and all their family are from Kentucky just north or where DR. J. his his family home. He thinks there may ba a family relationship. I haven't followed it up but his father's name is Jeff. Any there's your 6 degrees or less. Hummm! The coworkers name is Bret and they both work for the same place I work for! Stranger and stranger. I have to read the book this guy has written. I'll add it to my list! Love you all lots, Mama p.s. while you were in New Orleans did you have beignets? One day for me maybe!

George said...


It was great to meet you en route to San Diego. The next time I'm on a airplane, I'll be sure to order a Ginger Ale.

Safe Travels,