Monday, 20 February 2012

It's A Small World After All

Today's featured song comes to us courtesy of My Brightest Diamond. This is her performance of "I Have Never Loved Someone" for Blogotheque's Take Away Show series.

I'm trying to remember the saying about the six degrees of separation. Are there six degrees between each and every human on earth? Or six degrees between us all and Kevin Bacon? Anyway, it's not important because a few weeks ago I heard that thanks to the internet the number of degrees between each and every one of us has shrunk to somewhere between four and five.

As someone who grew up in a very small town (it was big news when I came home to visit for the holidays, and somehow everyone seemed to know that my dad had made a path in the snow for my car.) I am still surprised by how small the whole world really is. Maybe it's just the nature of cities like Vancouver and NYC...larger populations, sure, but still very concentrated downtown cores. You're bound to run into someone you know, or to find out you have something in common with a stranger. I have two examples.

Two years ago I was working as a sales associate at Club Monaco on Robson Street in Vancouver. While I liked the clothes and the majority of the staff, it wasn't really a job that fulfilled me. The foot traffic on Robson is very high, so creating a relationship with any one client was difficult, if not impossible. I didn't work regular hours so even if someone had wanted to come in and shop with me, it would have been difficult for us to schedule a time. However, there were occasions when I really connected with people in the store. This is the best example I can think of. A woman and her husband are attending some kind of weekend convention, and she wants a new outfit for the banquet dinner. I spent almost an hour helping her choose the best combination and we have so much fun. As she's paying for her ensemble, I ask her for her address so I can send her a little thank you card in the mail. The exchange that followed took me completely by surprise, to the point that I had to go into the staff room and cry for a little bit.

Her: Oh, actually I'm visiting from Manitoba.
Me: No way! I'm from Manitoba too. I grew up in Carman.
Her: We're from Winkler!
Her Husband: What's your last name?
Me: Owen
Her Husband: Any relation to Pat?
Me: Um, yeah - that's my dad.
Her Husband: Oh! We just bought the old farm house from him.

These people own the first 18 years of my life.

The next example happened one night at Vlada lounge in New York. My best friend Jason was visiting from Toronto and he handed his Mastercard over to the bartender who looked at it and said "Oh, you guys are from Canada? I used to live in Vancouver!" The rest of our conversation goes like this.

Me: We lived there for 4 years!
Bartender: No way, which part?
Me: Yaletown
Jason: The Rosemount isn't Yaletown.
Me: The RoseDALE, and yes it is.
Bartender: Ha, no way - my aunt and uncle live in the Rosedale! They're in #1002.

At this point my jaw hits the floor.

Me: I'm #1003. Julia is your aunt?

When I'd told Julia that I was moving to NYC she mentioned she had a nephew there and I put it aside. 'NYC is a huge city,' I thought. 'There's no way I'll run into her nephew while I'm there.' Which just goes to show you that I need to be a little less cynical and open to the infinite possibilities of the universe, or something.

Did that sound a little hippy dippy? I've been doing lots of hot yoga this month, I think it's starting to rub off on me. To be honest, I find most of it pretty pretentious and silly. I'm there for the sweat and the stretch and the work out and for a reason to wear one of my 15 speedos during the Manitoba winter. "Think of someone you love, someone you are indifferent about, and someone you hate" said my instructor last week. "Send love to them all." Fuck that, I thought. Send love to someone I hate?

Though the next class I took ended with the teacher saying "Next time you're in a long line at the store, just find this place of calmness and you'll be a much happier person." As it turned out, I ended up in a long line at Wal-Mart the next day. As I listened to the people behind me argue about which line looked shortest I decided to not let it bother me. I had nowhere to be, really...and there were only three or four people in front of me. About 3 seconds later an employee told me she'd be happy to help me at the next till over. The moment I actively decided I was ok with waiting, I didn't have to wait anymore. Fine yoga gods, maybe you have a point.

The universe works in mysterious ways.


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