Everyone is familiar with the "Oh, so do you know. . .?" game. For most people, it is an automatic reaction when faced with the potentially scary prospect of making small talk with someone new. I've never really understood why every conversation between two people who haven't met before must begin in this way, but - alas - a single man cannot change ingrained social conventions.
Most of the time, the game goes in one of two ways. Both of them awkward and vaguely uncomfortable.
1) CONNECTION FAILS
"So, where do you go to school again?"
"OK, OK. Do you know. . . wait, what's that kid's name? I think he was in the grade below me in high school. Nick maybe? Yeah, Nick. Last name starts with a "V" I think. . . "
"Nick? Um. I'm not sure - I don't think so."
2) CONNECTION MADE
"So, you're from Nebraska? That's so crazy!"
"Yeah, pretty wild."
"So, this is probably stupid, but do you by any chance know this girl Natasha Hutchins? I went to chess camp with her like the summer after junior year. She's from this town in Nebraska."
"Oh. . . that name sounds really familiar actually. I feel like maybe she went to my rival high school. Yeah, definitely. I can totally like picture her face."
"Really? It is such a small world. Yeah - she was the sweetest girl."
"Yeah. She looked like she would be nice."