Across Nations and Time

As of the 23rd May 2022 this website is archived and will receive no further updates.

was produced by the Winton programme for the public understanding of risk based in the Statistical Laboratory in the University of Cambridge. The aim was to help improve the way that uncertainty and risk are discussed in society, and show how probability and statistics can be both useful and entertaining.

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My junior year in college, I left rainy Seattle to spend winter term in Mexico City where I lived with a family along with six other young women from universities in different parts of the U.S. Several were from Ohio. I had lived in Ohio for a year during high school, and one of my friends had gone on to OSU. I asked one of the Ohio girls if she knew him; she responded yes, he was a high-profile musician at OSU, known to almost everyone. “Tell Jack hello from me if you see him!” I said. —Interlude: When I returned to Wn State at the end of the term, my Ohio roommate’s Mexican boyfriend asked if I would mail a package for him when I got back to the states. He explained that it was the wristwatch left behind by a former roommate, and he was concerned about mail theft in Mexico. “Sure - out of curiosity, where is it going?” “To a little town called Sequim, in Wn State.” I couldn’t believe it - it was going to my hometown of 1,200 residents! “Who is it going to?” I asked. “BD,” he answered. “Oh my goodness! He’s my next-door neighbor! His family and mine share a driveway! I’ll just give it to him,” I said. And I did. Truth be told, I didn’t know BD very well; he was a son from our neighbor’s first marriage and visited Sequim only occasionally. But still. Back in Seattle, at the beginning of fall term, I received a surprise phone call. It was Jack! He explained that the previous spring, an unknown young woman had approached him at OSU and shared my greeting and phone number with him. He himself had graduated in the spring; then he had been recruited for a secret job that brought him to Seattle for a week, before he started Army boot camp in the fall. We had a happy reunion at dinner and agreed to stay in touch. Several weeks a later, a letter from him arrived, from Army boot camp in Georgia. “When I sat down to start this letter, my roommate asked who I was writing to. You’ll be surprised to learn that my roommate is your next-door neighbor, BD.” And I never heard from him again.
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Date submitted:Fri, 22 Oct 2021 09:26:05 +0000Coincidence ID:11856