1 One Sunday In Perry
2 What the Army Taught Me
3 Not My Mother's Shopping List
4 Brain Calisthenics
5 The Pono Nano Diet
6 Oatmeal Jim-Jams
7 A Walk in the Park
8 Escape to California
10 Printer's Devil
11 Pono - The Addict
13 Love in the Woods
14 It's a Small World
15 Culinary Crutches
16 We Want Sandin
17 Better With Age
18 Parallel Universes
19 Mårten Nilsson Finne
20 Hawaii Is A State
21 Shake-em-up Flashlight
22 The Use of E-mail
23 Normal American Schoolboy
24 Lake Gogebic Early Days
IT’S A SMALL WORLD
Part of the fun of starting a new job is meeting the new co-workers and then getting to know them. On this assignment, I was put in a temporary cubicle to wait for my paperwork to catch up with me. The person just across from me was a lady named Hilda. She worked away from her office quite a bit so we didn’t get to talk too much, but eventually I learned that I knew her husband Henry, since he and I had worked for the same small company, and I had met him there.
This was no big deal. In the early days of computers, we used to joke that there were only 200 computer programmers in the world and they just rotated around to the various companies who needed their services. I remember sitting in a bar in Santa Monica once in those early days, quoting the guy who I first heard say the “200 programmers” thing and trying to remember his name so I could credit the quote to him. As I was trying to dredge up the name, he came walking in to the bar.
Hilda and I became friends and then moved on to other offices, but we still saw each other in the work-a-day world regularly. At one point I mentioned to her that I was planning a trip to South America. We were going to Ecuador and then on to Peru to see Machu Picchu. Hilda said that her sister was a travel agent in Ecuador and that I should wait until I got there to get the ongoing tickets because they would be cheaper. So I did.
I was traveling with my son Stuart and he speaks Spanish, so I was pretty sure we would have no difficulties with the language, but of course fluency is a relative term and dialects differ. Hilda’s sister spoke English, but she was busy and assigned us to one of her clerks. We were doing OK, but I guess it was obvious that we would have been more comfortable in English. A young lady who worked in the office came over and offered to help and she got us through the purchase process. We chatted some more and I asked where she had learned such excellent American English. She said she had been an exchange student in the state of Michigan. I told her I was a native of Michigan and had lived in about 30 different towns, so I was curious about where she had gone to school. She said near Battle Creek. I said I had a brother who owned a farm outside of Battle Creek near a small town named Bellevue. She said that’s where she went to school. She looked at our paperwork to check the name and said, “OMG, a Sandin girl was my best friend!” The girl she named was my brother’s granddaughter.
At one time I thought these chance encounters were rare, but that was before I came to live in Maui. First, you have to remember that the entire island has only about 130,000 residents. Granted there are usually a lot more people here, but they are the (yuk - oh, excuse me) tourists. Second, there are a lot of ‘opihi here (‘opihi are limpets that attach themselves to rocks in the ocean and never move, come hell or high water – human ‘opihi attach themselves to Maui with a similar tenacity).
So it is fun to watch folks who have been here for some time (even Pono-come-latelys like me – 12+ years) when they meet. What’s your last name, who were your parents, where did you take high school, what year did you graduate? One of those answers always leads to do you know x, y, or z, which usually results in oh, ya, y is my cousin – oh, x is my wife’s cousin – and then a flood of connectivity!
For people like me it is more often local volunteer experiences, golf courses or other points of interest, finding groceries that cost less than a leg, and so forth. However, it usually moves on to travel or mainland experiences, home states and towns, and employers.
Like the single we picked up
to join our twosome on Elleair golf course one day. We did the usual “dance
of commonality” and I found out he was Henry and Hilda’s son! California,
Michigan, Ecuador, Hawaii – it is truly a small world!
At the Machu Picchu Pueblo Hotel in Peru
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