Wikipedia states: Six degrees of separation refers to the idea that, if a person is one step away from each person they know and two steps away from each person who is known by one of the people they know, then everyone is an average of six "steps" away from each person on Earth. Well, in New Orleans, it is even less than that.
I've been away from this city for decades, yet seem to know almost everybody, or somebody who knows them. I'm job hunting now, so spending a lot of time networking where I run into them all.
I attended a candidate fundraiser two weeks ago with a friend of a college friend. I sat at the same table with a woman who went to my college, lived in my freshman-year dorm the year before me, my sophomore dorm the year before me, and Jr. Year Abroad the year before me. Turns out, she was the work supervisor of the wife of Herb, a friend from my junior year in Paris. Herb's wife then came along and invited me to dinner at their house. Both women worked in fundraising at Tulane before Katrina and know my college roommate who works in fundraising at Loyola, the university right next door.
That afternoon, I got a call from another college friend who sang in my same musical group for four years. An architect, he said his firm has done work for many years on Herb's house.
I applied for a government job online and then realized it was in the office where my workout partner works. We met in a 13-week session with a physical trainer at the health club and have continued to lift weights together.
I've been freelancing for the Times-Picayune and run into people I know on every assignment. I went to an elementary school last week where a teacher was given a $25,000 award. A former coworker from ACORN, who decided to go into teaching, came up and said hello. She now teaches at Craig Elementary.
At that event, I interviewed Superintendent of Schools Paul Vallas, who had been superintendent in Chicago and also ran for governor of Illinois. Though I was involved with his campaign there, we'd never met. He had to come to New Orleans.
I covered the breast cancer walk and another former ACORN communications staffer was the Cancer Society's PR representative.
I covered a newspaper story about backyard beekeeping. The last person I interviewed at the uptown honeybee workshop was Diane Plauche. I asked if she knew my college friend, Mary Plauche? She said Mary was her sister-in-law.
I went to a fundraising reception for the Diabetes Association, which was screening "Steel Magnolias," written my another college friend, Bobby Harling. His parents were there and two of us went to say hello. A Tulane doctor embraced me -- I had forgotten she had asked me to get Tulane Medical Center to sponsor the Diabetes Walk in November.
I'm living in a condo where my freshman year roommates lives two doors away.
I could go on. The city is much smaller post-Katrina, but it seems crazily smaller than anyplace I've ever lived. You surely would want to keep your reputation squeaky clean in such a fishbowl and never forget who your friends are!