THREE degrees of separation

Saturday, Thing One and I went to Millbrook Winery's Harvest Party. As we wended our way along country roads, he was getting a little tense - Thing One has a low tolerance level for what he thinks is pretension. Our initial entry into the Festival seemed to hit that level, and then surpass it. But we had some wine, and some good cheese, and he started to relax.

The organizers put us at a table with three other couples. Couple One was from Connecticut, and Mr. One kept his reflective sunglasses on throughout the afternoon. Yo! Dude: you're under a tent. No sun. So either you've got a problem with your eyesight or you think you're too cool for school (but, really, not so much). They seemed a little lost and didn't really participate in the conversation.

Couple Two were older (60-70+). Jerry was a psychologist at one of the centers located in the former Rockland County Psychiatric Center, literally five minutes from where Thing One's brother has lived for years. His wife, Irene, and he had just finished a book on schizophrenia (which played a semi-role in my recent mystery read, Scared to Live, so I was able to ask a question about it and sound semi-intelligent). Irene's now working on a book on female friendships and the way they end, and has a blog, Fractured Friendships. I mentioned Carol Gillgan's Making Connections (see kids - reading pays off!). Then we talked about where we were from. They knew MPOW because their son had played ice hockey with a boy who'd gone there; this boy's sister I knew through MFPOW when she'd transferred to pursue an ice skating career.

It was at this point that Mr. Two said that this whole "six degrees" thing was nonsense - all it takes is 2-3 questions for most people to find a connection.

Couple Three was a poet-tutor and his girlfriend. They'd been to Paris recently (where she'd lived for a number of years in the 90s), he'd lived in England. He tutored at schools, also acting as a poet-in-residence. The connection? He'd gone to Saint Francis Prep in Brooklyn, but had wanted to go to Archbishop Molloy in Queens (better track team). Guess where Thing One had gone to school? Molloy. They had a great time talking about the virtues and horrors of Catholic school education (trivia tip: nuns are worse than brothers).

So, there we were, at a table with at least two other couples with whom we could talk. Thing One relaxed, drank good wine, ate good food... and enjoyed the three degrees.

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