Woods Hole, MIT, Virgin America; it's a small world

Yesterday, in returning from a week long, Christmas related stint in my home state of Massachusetts, I had a particularly intriguing synchronicity.

I was flying Virgin America, which is an excellent airline but that's an entire discussion of its own right. As a matter of good fortune, I was flying Main Cabin Select, which provides, amongst other things, the option of checking in through the First Class line. The regular line was proceeding rather quickly and a young lady behind me in line made a comment to the effect of it seeming a mistake to be in the First Class line. My motivations being as they are, I took a few moments to chat with this nice young lady but didn't make it far before it was my turn to go forward and check my baggage.

Conversations cut short are unfortunate but such things happen. I proceeded through security, got to the gate, waited a while and boarded the plane where who should end up in the seat next to me but the very same young woman who had been behind me in line. This was a pleasant coincidence but not terribly surprising insofar as there are not very many Main Cabin Select seats on any given plane. Shortly after taking her seat, this young woman says to me, "nice ring" and, as I glance over, it turns out that she's an MIT graduate as well; there's a pleasant extra level to this coincidence and a good source for conversation topics.

As we're chatting about various things, this young woman (who I am going to refer to as Margaret because it's easier than continuing to use qualified generic nouns), mentions that she was on the crew team and I mentioned that I had been on the sailing team. Somehow, in discussing sailing, I mentioned spending summers on Cape Cod, which raised the question of where. My answer, of course, is Woods Hole and, lo and behold, Margaret's family also has a place in Woods Hole. I should note that Woods Hole is a very small town and it's quite rare that I encounter someone in Woods Hole that I have not met before, especially someone within 5 years of my own age. As a result, rather unsurprisingly, it turns out that Margaret and I have at least a dozen mutual acquaintances and friends.

Overall, it was a fantastically surprising coincidence; so much so that it makes me wish that Mr. Data were on hand to tell me what the odds of the coincidence were. Certainly there exist certain biases to correct for, which make it such that the coincidence isn't purely random but I am not terribly inclined to enumerate all of the non-random factors that may have contributed. Why such a coincidence happened, I can't say, but it did, and that's great. The end result is that I've narrowed the gap of people that I don't know in Woods Hole and made a connection with a pleasant new person in this world.

Comments

This reminds me of a portion of the play "La Cantatrice Chauve."