Monday, November 17, 2008

Worth Wondering

People who read my blog with any sort of regularity sometimes say..."Wow, you've lived a really interesting/extraordinary/unusual life!" Yes, I have. But so have you. And so has the mailman. And the grocery store clerk. And that guy who puts weed killer on my lawn. And the homeless man begging at the on-ramp to I75. And the librarian who makes polite chit chat with me about the books that I check out.

My life is no more or less interesting than a thousand other lives out there. There is extraordinary in the ordinary. There is beauty in the mundane. There is nobility in the prosaic. There is heroism in mediocrity. We just have to open our eyes and see it.

I've always been a people watcher. It's my favorite pastime. I notice things about them and I invent entire lifestories based on insignificant details, such as a battered wristwatch on the arm of an otherwise expensively dressed man (It was his father's, whom he never knew, because he was killed in WWII when his plane was shot down. The watch was the only thing recovered).

And who's to say these fabulous things aren't true? It's not impossible. And chances are that something even more profound and wonderful than my imaginings lies within the real lifestory. Because life and the people who live it are that intereseting. Really. Online, as in real life, I have a very small, intimate circle of friends. And both of these circles contain people with amazing life stories, unimaginable courage and perserverence, and unshakable conviction when it comes to their principles, their beliefs and their passion. So have I just won the cool people and amazing friends lottery? Well, I'd like to think so. My friends are pretty special people. But the fact is...EVERYONE has something and is something worth celebrating.

That grungy guy panhandling on the Interstate could be a Vietnam vet. Maybe he saved an entire platoon from extermination, except one guy. Maybe he had to hide in the jungle and eat centipedes for a year before he was rescued and returned to his home. Maybe he still has nightmares about that one guy and wakes up screaming and that's why he can't hold a job. Maybe he's just now beginning to believe he is safe. Maybe that nondescript cashier at the grocery store has seventeen adopted children. Maybe the Mailman runs a soup kitchen in his spare time. Maybe that guy who puts weed killer on my lawn risked his life to smuggle an entire village across the border so they could have a better life. Maybe that unassuming librarian is a whip cracking Dominatrix when the sun goes down. You just never know.

So the next time you're tempted to think of my life as extraordinary because of the things that I've written about, just take a look at your own. Take a look at the people in it. Look beneath the surface and find the extraordinary. It's there. I guarantee it. Wonder about people. Because they're almost all worth wondering about.

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