Another blog from the air

My, how I love doing this! Don't know why, but blogging on my BlackBerry whilst flying high above the dark country in an airplane, snacking on M&M's, sipping on a Coke, and listening to Jason Mraz is, strangely, quite comforting and relaxing...

... as is going into an extensive, rather detailed, setup of my current time and place. But that's another matter.

Anyway, yes, I'm flying home solo this evening from my visit to Colorado, returning a day earlier than my Mom to attend a stilt audition at work tomorrow. Full trip report and results of the workshop are forthcoming, but, for now, I just want to share with you an intriguing thought.

Before boarding, I purchased and began to read (gasp!) an interesting little book entitled "Astonish Yourself! 101 Experiments in the Philosophy of Everyday Life" by Roger-Pol Droit. Now, some of you may know that I'm not much of a reader and usually only succumb to such great titles as "Stuff White People Like" and "Diary of a Whimpy Kid"... and this one is no exception to that genre. Although I haven't finished the entire thing, what I have read so far has been rather interesting and thought-provoking.

The book contains simple experiments to attempt to put our seemingly important lives into perspective - to take a look at the world from an angle that you may have never even thought possible. Instructions and summaries of fun little games such as peeling an apple in your head, drinking while urinating, contemplating a dead bird, trying not to think, and dialing the phone at random all litter the pages, as do any tools that might be necessary and the expected time for completion, if any.

But enough about the book. After reading a few pages, it got me thinking about the person sitting next to me. Why? Why not? I began to think about this stranger in a way I don't think I've ever thought about a person I didn't know before. He's a white guy, about my height, mildly attractive, probably just a little older than me, wearing jeans and a casual, long-sleeve button down shirt. He ordered a Jack and Coke and that's about all the factual insight I got into his life.

Did his beverage choice mean he's an alcoholic or was this his first drink? What does he do with his life - student, employee, model, actor, escort? Is he from Orlando? Does he have a significant other? Gay? Straight? Bi? Transgendered? Sterile? Fertile? Does he wax his legs? Is he a Democrat, a Republican, or neither? Are his parents still together? Did he even know his parents? Does he drive a car, truck, SUV? Does he even drive? Does he care about the environment, the planet, or its future? Is he even from this planet?

Ok, the last one probably already answers itself. But... what if it doesn't? That could just open up a whole other box of questions, now couldn't it?

I went on and on like this for as long as my mind could bear and came out of it with the stark realization that I, in fact, know absolutely nothing about this guy. Yes, that fact is what makes him a "stranger", but what if I struck up a conversation with him? The simple act of a discussion between us could inevitably change all of my original thoughts, opinions, and ideas. We might even end up becoming the best of friends.

Despite this, have I spoken with him? No. Do I plan to? Well, not really. If I do, my few minutes of pondering would probably be put to waste, because then the mystery of the unknown would have been shattered forever.

Some may view my thoughts as judgemental. Rather, I like to think of them as my ability to imagine and wonder about the life of just one of the seven billion humans here on Earth.

What to say about all this? Probably the conclusion I've gained is that you should never judge a book by its cover - or its choice of alcoholic beverages. Yes, I did originally pull "Astonish..." off the shelf due to its cover, but I did read a few pages before deciding to buy it.

So, the next time you find yourself sitting next to a stranger for three and a half hours (or whatever length of time it may be), strike up a conversation with them before thinking about anything else, take in a few pages from THEIR book, and discover the wonders of just how they managed to end up sitting there. You might be pleasantly surprised. Have questions? Ask! It's the only way to really find out anything.

Or, of course, you could just let your mind formulate a ton if questions and assumptions about them that you'll never get officially answered... which could put any kind of a future potential relationship with them in jeopardy. Your choice.

That being said, we're now entering our final decent into Orlando, and very soon I'll be back into the reality that, seemingly, I take for granted every day. Perhaps I'll try to make a conscious effort to change that... and you should, too.


Casey T. said...

Wow. That just blew my mind. ha

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