Thursday, January 25, 2007

"Hey, do you know..."

Stopped by Walgreen's this morning to pick up soda for today's management meeting (last time I have to do that, as I've taken it upon myself to delegate the task of planning the meeting to our events planner) and Pam, Beauty Department rung up my order. After swiping the corporate AmEx, she asked, "Are you related to Margaret? I went to high school with her." "Yes, she's my aunt."

If I had a dime for every time someone who saw my last name asked me if I was related to Margaret, Shelley, Marty, Mary, Mike, Milt or Mark, well, I'd have about $10. Margaret and Shelley are definitely the most well-known in my clan. Shelley is so popular as to have been spotted by friends when she's in another country. This absolutely amazes me.

Along the same lines, on my recent business trip I took the parking lot shuttle to the airport and watched as a man got on with an Operating Engineers Local 513 jacket on. I caught a glimpse of his luggage tag, which was his business card, and that was also Local 513. Huh. So I asked him if he knew Papa, and sure he did, and knows where he works and such, so we had a nice chat. Turns out he's the cousin of my Uncle Jim, who passed away, what, 12 or 13 years ago? The man said, "I've even met your mom. I met her at Jim's funeral." Dude, you met me at the funeral, too. How crazy is that?

Even crazier, on the way home from San Antonio, I boarded my airplane in Group 1. This isn't crazy, by the way, it's the story that's coming up that's crazy. So I got to board in Group 1, right after First Class, because my seat was so far back as to possibly be on the tail, and as I'm doing the tired-passenger shuffle down the impossibly small aisle of the aircraft, the line came to a screeching halt. Usually happens when someone with an overstuffed carry-on struggles to put his/her bag in the already-crammed overhead, which is funny given that we're the first ones on the plane and this person apparently thinks that his bag must remain directly over his head, instead of in any of the empty overhead compartments surrounding his seat. So anyway, during my brief pause in First Class, I did what I usually do. I looked around.

Glancing to my right I am eye-level with a gentleman's luggage tag in an overhead compartment. The business name catches my eye, as it's one that M worked with quite a bit in his old industry, and even entertained a job offer from them after his company moved to OK. They're in Salem, Illinois, though, and there would be nothing for me to do there. At all. It was just far enough away to be a major inconvenience and pain in the rear as far as family goes, or a job in the Lou. But I digress.

So I confirm with a second look that it is indeed the same company, and then, as the line starts to move, I catch a glimpse of the gentleman's name. Holy cow. It's the guy who is M's primary contact there. Who he's met countless times and spoken to on the phone about a bajillion times, and who he stays in touch with, every few months, even now. I don't know this guy from the man in the moon, but his name is very distinctive, being Seamus and all. That's Irish, which of course means he's one of "my people."

At this point the line is indeed moving and I'm trying to be a conscientious passenger and not hold everyone up, while also straining to confirm what I just saw on the luggage tag and scan First Class to recognize a man I've never met. This means that my feet and lower legs are about three feet in front of my body, and I'm leaning back trying to look. Not the most graceful of positions.

Anyway, I went back up to First Class after we took off, but the only guy who I suspected might be Seamus was asleep with headphones on, and I thought it a bit stalkerish to wake him up and say, "You've never met me, but you know my husband, M, and he says 'hi.'"

All this to say, simply, that it's an incredibly small world, so don't do anything stupid because you never know who might be watching.


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