05 April 2012

Oh The People You'll Meet!

Remember the Six Degrees of Separation, aka The Kevin Bacon Game?  One person would name an actor and you had to come up with a connection to Kevin Bacon within six links--without looking up information on the Web. For example:

Actor: Clive Owen
Worked with Julia Roberts in "Closer"
Julia Roberts worked with Tom Hanks in "Larry Crowne"
Tom Hanks worked with Kevin Bacon in "Apollo 13"

YAY! I made the connection in three links. I win!

The theory behind the game (other than the fact that Kevin Bacon has been a very busy and extremely well-employed actor) is that everyone is connected by six degrees of separation or less. With the advent of the social networks and the unbridled "friending" friends of friends of friends, sociologists estimate we are now even more easily connected, within four degrees.

So why does it still surprise me when someone at a book event says they've heard of me? Logically, I should expect it. After all, each of us meet others in many different but overlapping circles: work, classes, professional associations, vacation trips, grocery stores... you get the idea. And those circles are getting larger, shrinking the distance between all of us on the planet.

But I'm still stunned when I discover a connection I didn't expect. Quite some time ago, I was invited to speak at a local AAUW (American Association of University Women) luncheon. They had been given my name by fellow Gecko Gal author Mary Ann Hutchison a number of years ago as part of a local author speaking list. The date was set and information exchanged.  Then only a few months ago, my best friend was dog-sitting at a house on the north side of Tucson. You see, my friend's sister is a hairdresser and this woman is one of her clients. When the woman mentioned she needed a trustworthy person to house-and-dog-sit, of course the hairdressing sister mentioned my best friend. While getting to know one another, the homeowner tells my friend how she schedules authors to speak to her group, and voila! my friend mentions my books. The homeowner laughs because I was already scheduled to speak. When I arrived at the event, it was as though we were old friends, even though it was the first time we'd actually met.

Still, I don't think I'll ever quite get over the surprise when someone says they've heard about me. It's a little weird to think about. But hey, as long as no one mistakes me for a Kardashian, it's cool...


  1. I'm always amazed at the connections one of my friends find, no matter where she goes in the world.

  2. It is amazing, isn't it? Some people seem to always find someone who knows someone they know. Now it appears to be easier than ever.