Small world, yes it is. 

copyright 1998, James Waldron Design, all rights reserved 

Stockholm, Sweden 
N 59 deg. 20.321 min. 
E 018 deg. 04.591 min. 

Small world. Yes, it is. As proof I submit the following evidence. I arrived in Stockholm and over a three day period bumped into seven people I know who live several continents away. 

First I saw Josh Clarke, a professional in-line skater from Melbourne Australia. The next day Dion Antony, another Australian skater, grabbed me and gave me a hug as he came out of a department store. Less than an hour later, walking in a crowd of several thousand Water Festival attendees, I yelled, pointed and ran up to Petra, a Swedish woman I had met on the tiny island of Trawangan in Lombok Indonesia six months earlier. Petra lives two hours away from Stockholm, maybe increasing the odds we shoult meet, but the next two coincidences can't be attributed to Swedish connections. 

January in Dingo Australia, population 193, I met two American backpackers from Los Angeles: Cindy and Barbara. After seven months of travel I had seen them twice more, once in Australia, once in Bangkok, and then, strolling along the harbor in Stockholm with my friend Dave there they were again. Completly random coincidence, or does strapping on a backpack make you a magnet for these things.

The last of the rare intersections happened later that same afternoon. Dave, Barb, Cindy and myself hopped on a ferry to Vaxholm, a small island in the Swedish Archipelago about an hour from Stockholm.  After a plesant afternoon walking around the place we were waiting for the ferry home when I decided to go around the corner to take advantage of the late afternoon sun and photograph some old houses. No sooner had I turned the corner when I recognized Hans Ullmark, the president of an interactive media agency in San Francisco. He was just going to pick up his daughter by the pier. She just happened to have been Dave's intern back in New York.

But the coincidences continue. Dave, an avid consumer of hi-tech periodicals, cruised the local english-print shop and came back to our hotel room with an armful of current issues. I casually picked up his new issue of How Magazine and remarked, "Oh, I think I'm in that one." "Yeah, right." was his expected response. But lo and behold, in a country six hours away by plane, on a random day in a random apartment, my random friend bought a ramdom mag and I was in it. First time I saw it. Stockholm is the center of the world.

Everywhere I looked in this town there was someone I knew from somewhere else. It makes me wonder how many more people I know were lurking only a few meters away, or behind that fence over there. Why Stockholm? Is it the center of the universe? Regardless, this world is just too small. We have to build a new one.


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© (1998) James Waldron Design --