Her name is Katherine. She was my seat mate on the Chicago to Heathrow leg of my trip to England. She’s attractive and friendly. Exactly the sort of person you’d like to sit next to on a transatlantic red-eye. She grew up in Ireland and now lives in London. I’m from Oregon. She told me about the wedding she had been at in Minnesota. I told her about the time off I was taking, what I had done so far, and what I was planning on doing next. I told her about Tim Ferriss’ 4-Hour Workweek. She told me about a friend of her’s who’s living it by selling university class notes online. She told me she is a physical and respiratory therapist for Britain’s National Health System. I told her I’m a software engineer working for Hewlett-Packard.
“Oh! My dad works for HP. He’s been working there for 38 years.”
“Really! What’s his name?”
“Jim …” [I don’t use last names.]
“I think I’ve heard of him, but don’t know him directly. I’ll have to look him up.”
Let’s see. There are nine billion people on the planet. Only 300,000 of them, more or less, work for HP. I randomly meet the daughter of one of them on a plane trip across the Atlantic. Even though I know the math works out, I’m always amazed. It was a very lucky break. Not only was it an interesting coincidence, it was also a very pleasant conversation. Hopefully it’s a good omen for the rest of the trip, too.