Small World

Tito Lyndon and the girls, summer 2006

When Steve and I first met, I was excited when he told me that he was from Pennsylvania.
I told him that my good friend Lyndon Soriano, was also from Pennsylvania
-- MARYLAND, Pennsylvania.
(I had never set foot in the US, and did not know - towns, cities or states)
Steve patiently explained that Maryland was beside Pennsylvania, and not in it.
I insisted that my friend was from Maryland, Pa.
Steve politely dropped the issue and we did not speak of it again until months later.

My friend Lyndon and I met in our freshman year in college.
He was born and raised in St. Mary's, PA.
We were always good friends and always kept tabs on each others life despite the fact that we did not always socialize in the same circles
(him being in that upper echelon fraternity and all).

For my 18th bday he saw the dismal 'tunes' situation of my home and so he
(and his brother, Mike) brought their stereo over for my party.
When we were 20, we set each other up on unsuccessful blind dates.
Two years later, he was kind enough to drive me to one memorable unsuccessful job interview
(I was grossly underweight and failed Cathay Pacific's weigh in, for flight attendants (!??)).
Soon after, he moved to California.
A few months after I met Steve, I got a phone call from Lyndon.
I told him that I was dating a guy from Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania.
Lyndon was shocked.
He said: "Ches, who would you know from Punxsutawney, Pa.???"
I said: "Steve ******"
Dead silence. Lyndon was stunned.
Incredibly, Lyndon described Steve.
As it turns out, St. Mary's, Pa. is 45 miles from Punsutawney, Pa.
Lyndon and Steve played in the same baseball and basketball leagues.
Mike (Lyndon's brother) and Steve guarded each other (in basketball) for many years.

Now that I live here, it is fairly common for someone to ask me:
"you're from the Philippines? Do you know so and so...who is also from there?"
(philippine pop. 85M and counting...(thanks benjie))
You know what I have learned?
It is not so ridiculous.
People's paths cross all the time.

As Malcolm Gladwell (author of The Tipping Point) wrote in an essay published in the New Yorker:
"In the late nineteen-sixties, a Harvard social psychologist named Stanley Milgram conducted an experiment in an effort to find an answer to what is known as the small-world problem, though it could also be called the Lois Weisberg problem. It is this: How are human beings connected? Do we belong to separate worlds, operating simultaneously but autonomously, so that the links between any two people, anywhere in the world, are few and distant? Or are we all bound up together in a grand, interlocking web?"
(Read the entire essay here.)

When daily encounters are treated with sincerity and time is taken to connect memories,
you'll find that the world is indeed small.


I got an email from Gino. Apparently, he chanced upon this blog.

The 'F' train, New York City 2003

Gino Tadiar. In Manila, we hung out in the late 80's and then we lost touch for the next 14 years. In September 2003, I hopped on a subway train, loaded with New Yorkers en route to work. After apologizing profusely to a woman, whose toe I had stepped on--I looked up and saw Gino.
(Understand, I did not even know that he had moved away from Manila.)
We stared blankly at each other before we errupted with a ripple of exclamatory greetings (read: scandalous).
The woman with the toe, was rather amused listening to our "small world"
experience and so she volunteered to take our picture before Gino's stop.

Another time this happened was at a
public beach in South Carolina.
Steve spotted a woman he identified as being Filipino (as is his gift).
He said, "there's a Filipino woman, why don't you talk to her."
I said, "Why, do you speak to all the Americans we see in Manila?" (not)
But then as the woman walked towards us, I realized that I in fact, knew her.
Lulay and I were friends from college.
She had moved to Chicago about the same time I had moved to here.
Steve snapped this photo, in amazement.