Sailing to Coincidence
Here’s a cruise that came close to six degrees of separation. Or at the very least it was an afternoon spent sailing by coincidence.
- We had a couple from Arlington, Virginia and a family from Arlington, Texas. Cima Khosravi and Sam Sepatti commute to Washington, where she’s with a start-up tech company.” It’s only five years old and already has 125 employees. It’s at the corner of 13th and G, downtown. At lunch I get to walk near the White House. I can eat my lunch across the street in Lafayette Park.”
- Susan and Gary Knott were on vacation with their two boys, Brock and Preston. Somehow we got to talking about dental problems, and Susan had a doozy. “I have to go through a procedure in which they remove tissue from the roof of my mouth and graft it onto my upper gums. I’m an inveterate tooth brusher and grind my teeth. The combination has made the gums recede, exposing the nerves so that I’m super sensitive to hot and cold. When they do the bottom set of teeth, they’ll take tissue from an animal. It’s all super gross, I know.” She was talking about it in a bemused way, not the least complaining. Here’s the coincidence: Sam Sepatti is a practicing dentist.
“I’m from Stockhom,” he said. “Unlike in the United States, you don’t have to go to college before going to dental school. Yet dental school is harder than medical school. I did my post-graduate work at U-Conn School of Dentistry and then I fell in love with Florida and worked in Ft. Lauderdale. Now I’ve been practicing with my uncle for the past five years.
- Cimi interjected, “Next week he’s going out to Wise, Virginia, to help treat rural patients, 1,400 of them.” Sam explained, “I started Dentists Without Borders” in Sweden and am trying to help out here. We have a team that sets up a tent. We may see as many as 2,500 patients.” I have some familiarity with dentists, having edited my daughter’s marketing guide for dentists. I wrote down the name for Sam.
- Sam and Cimi were staying at Kingsmill Resort, and I live on the grounds of Kingsmill.
- “I always wanted to learn to play golf,” she said. Much later in the sail I realized she could learn a lot from Gary Knott. I asked him about his handicap. “Seven. It used to be four or five, but back then I was playing as many as 150 rounds a year.”
- Cimi grew up in San Francisco and became a Giants fan when they took on the Texas Rangers in the 2010 World Series. “That was so amazing, how it pulled the entire community together for one common goal.” Gary was there too. “I flew to San Francisco on the owner’s jet and attended two games with him.” Gary is a construction executive in Arlington.
- Susan grew up in Iowa and Sam spent time there too. Gary observed that it was a pretty boring place and no one disagreed.
Their younger son Prescott wore a “Team Texas” baseball hat for Little League. He plays second base for a travel team that is working its way up through the state regionals. The older son Brock is hoping to go to the University of Southern California, which Cimi knew well from her travels to Los Angeles.
Brock is looking at other colleges and admits to having middle grades. “I’m going to brag on you,” his mom said. “Colleges look at extra-curricular work by high school students, and Brock volunteers at his church to help mentally challenged children. He also established a Key Club at his school.” I knew about that since I was in Kiwanis for years, which sponsors Key Clubs at high schools and Circle K at colleges. “Their projects to establish the club come in three levels, and he chose the hardest level. He’s very high-achieving.”
- San Francisco and Sam’s background reminded me of the Stockholm Syndrome. “Yes,” he said, “where the hostage takes on the point of view of the kidnappers and identifies with them” The most famous example is Patty Hearst, who was abducted by the Symbionese Liberation Army during the 1970s and helped them rob a bank. But the origin was a Swedish bank robbery in 1973 where some of the bank employees empathacised with the robbers. “Bank robbery used to be very big in Sweden,” Sam said, “because security was lax and money was there for the taking.”
- Both couples have vacationed in Cabo San Lucas at the tip of the Baja California peninsula of Mexico. They loved it, and they’ve been to Canun as well.
- We covered the Siege of Yorktown, whose roots were the Battle of Green Springs when the Marquis de Lafayette challenged Lord Cornwallis’s expeditionary force. As it happened, the Knots were staying at nearby Green Springs Plantation.
The breeze was light and variable but no one was complaining. Afterward Gary said, “We had such an enjoyable conversation that we forgot to eat.”
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