LESS THAN SEVEN DEGREES OF SEPARATION
A few days ago I wrote about how most of the expats we meet here seem to know one another, or they know someone who knows someone else, and we're all pretty much connected by far fewer than seven degrees of separation. This fact was recently proven to me (again) when we were having dinner with our friends Bill and Suzy at their villa just outside of Cannara. They've brought several couples with them for a tour of Umbria and some concerts at UMBRIA JAZZ, and had invited us to join them for dinner.
When we arrived about 6:30 people were scattered all over the place. Some were lounging around the pool, some were helping out in the kitchen and others were resting or showering for dinner. We were introduced to everyone as they wandered in, but didn't really know how each person was connected to Bill and Suzy, or to each other.
At dinner we had two long tables - one for the men and one for the women. Suzy said they'd used this method before and found that it worked really well. I certainly enjoyed getting to know all the women, but after dinner still had no idea who was married to whom! (Let's face it, I wasn't even sure of the names of all the women - Suzy, Frances and Wendy I knew, Debbie was Suzy's sister, but then the others - Nancy? Linda? and maybe that was Diane on the other side of the table?)
During dinner I heard one of the women, (Diane) refer to one of the men as both 'John' and 'Jonathan'. That fact would later help me to realize who this man was - and how he was connected to me through just two degrees of separation.
After dinner everyone got up from the tables and stood around chatting and enjoying dessert. I heard one of the men talking about writing, and although I don't remember exactly what was said, I suddenly realized who he was and how I 'knew' him. When there was an opening in the conversation I asked him "Jonathan, didn't you live in Perugia a few summers ago?". When he answered "Yes", I said "I think you lived right next door to our friends Bob and Rosemary" - and yes, I was right! This man was the author Jonathan Harr! When he was in Perugia his book "The Lost Painting" had just been published and because of Bob and Rosemary's recommendation I later read the book. (I wrote about it here.) I enjoyed the book so much that on our next trip to Rome Art and I did a mini Caravaggio tour.
So, throught two degrees of separation - Bob and Rosemary being one, and Bill and Suzy being the other - we'd once again proven that all expats in Italy are somehow connected to all other expats in Italy.
(Jonathan also wrote "A Civil Action" which was made into a film of the same name starring John Travolta and Robert Duvall. Jonathan's wife Diane is also an accomplished artist. You can view some of her work on her website, dianeharr.com.)