I guess the world has always seemed a little small to me. I may have grown up in a small town, but I've lived in several larger cities since then, and none of those large cities have ever seemed large to me. I always run into people I know. I always find out that people I meet are friends of friends. There are always unexpected and delightful connections.
I suppose it all makes sense. You tend to make friends with people who are like you. They, in turn, tend to make friends with others like themselves. Eventually you cross paths. And like-minded people tend to go to the same places, so you can reasonably expect to go to a favorite coffee shop, bar, bookstore, etc., and run into people that you know there.
Maui, of course, is a small island with a small population, leaving it rife for such unexpected connections. I experienced two recently that have left me rather amused.
Our friend B. was born and raised on Maui, and has many, many friends, some of whom he's known for 40 years. I suppose that finding people randomly connected to him should come as no real shock. But I was still amused a couple of months ago when he invited us over for dinner and we met his friend W. After a few minutes, it quickly became clear that W. was no stranger to us. In fact, we had met him several months previously, on top of Mt. Haleakala, during an evening of star gazing. After the sun went down, we were the only ones left, chatting, watching the stars wheel by through our telescopes. How funny to meet him again all those months later, sitting down to dinner.
Then this week, my husband went to home and saw our neighbor P. sitting out on his front porch with a young man who he thought was another friend of B's that we'd met on several occassions. He couldn't remember the young man's name, so texted me to ask. I couldn't remember either, but said, "Oh yes, I've seen P. out on his porch with a man who I assumed was his son (who he lives with), and he does look like B's friend!" I didn't think it was B's friend, though, because the man I'd seen looked too old.
A few minutes later, my husband texted me to say, "His name is J. and he is P's son!" Turns out that I had seen P. with his other son, who of course does look like J., his brother. I was just bowled over. I couldn't believe it. All this time we've been living two doors down from someone that we've met on several occasions, and we didn't even know it. As I told my husband, "What a small freaking world."
I like how intimate the world is. As we grow ever more connected via the Internet, I hope that the world continues to get smaller and smaller.