I've always had a fascination with airports and planes. I realize this puts me solely in the minority of people who have an opinion regarding planes and airports. But truth be told, all those planes going all those different directions make me pine to be on any one of them, going in whatever direction, with absolutely no idea as to what I'm going to do when I land.
When I was a kid, I used to want to be a pilot.
But it seems that any time I go to get ready to travel some place, it's always for the wrong reasons. I'm always one step ahead, or one step behind.
Because of my wayfaring ways, I often wonder if people actually come in contact with as many strangers as I do.
See, the downside of friendship is, that no matter how long you've been friends with someone, most of the conversations always start with a "hey, what's up?" and the thing is...that's more of a greeting. People rarely answer that question, honestly.
And I want to know.
Those who've been unfortunate enough to be along with me when I've been out and about, I don't know if they've ever noticed how I can make an instant connection with a stranger. I can't count how many times a friend has asked after I've finished a conversation with a stranger how I knew that person. And it always surprises me, the look on their face, when I explain, "Um, about ten minutes."
Sometimes it happens over the internet, too. I can't tell you how many of people I consider close, close friends I've met simply through this blog, or older ones I used to do. And I'm finding that this is something of a rarity...but why does it happen so constantly?
I live in Phoenix, Arizona. I have since January. I've spent most of my life here, so I'm far from a stranger to these lands.
I've grown to increasingly despise the surroundings. Not necessarily because of the heat. Though that in itself can get very close to unbearable, part of me likes that humanity could never replicate in a close way, real sun light. The way it warms your body, naturally.
But the people here...
It's been a wide subject of debate, SB 1070. I won't get into my personal feelings about the bill. Truthfully, they've pissed off both sides of opposition/support of the bill at rallies.
But the hatred that's imbued in so many people here.
It's been kind of a funny, sometimes scary thing. The actual race that I am. There was a situation in San Clemente, California where I was illegally detained by some racist cops. I wasn't asked for ID, asked for my name, or even simply explained too why it is John Q. Law was slamming me against a door, cuffing me and then shutting a door on my injury prone knee.
People often assume I'm of Eatern/Arabic decent. I realize its because I grow beards. It was a lot worse before I grew my hair out, because when it my hair was shorter than my beard is when I found the policia upset with me existing.
Often times at work, or other places people who see me daily will finally come up, and it never fails, say this (nearly verbatim): "Now...are you Arab? I can never figure it out."
My origins, if they are honestly at all important, are half Irish, half Hispanic.
But the other day, the worst its been in a long time happened. I was on the way to the bus stop to go pick up my check, when a woman in a walker who was sitting down at the bus stop walked away. I didn't think anything about it.
I was listening to some music, when about 15 minutes later she re-approached the bus stop bench. I could see from my periphery that she was talking, so I moved aside my headphones and asked her to repeat herself.
"You stupid fucking spic. Why can't you go back to your own fucking country? You have such an ugly language, you people talk just as loud as the niggers."
That's a lot to take in. Mostly because...anyone who knows me know I'm actually very soft spoken.
Oh, and the racism thing bugged me a lot, too. Though I did wonder why Eva Braun could identify my race, and people who I shared a common ancestry with couldn't.
And so I go back to the idea of travelling. It's no secret that I'm planning on leaving this place. I just don't know to where yet. And this shriveled woman was somehow embodying every grievance I'd had about this place.
Worst of all, it made me never want to talk to another stranger again.
Yesterday I went to the market to buy my groceries and pay a bill. My card worked for the bill, but when it came time to pay for the groceries, it wouldn't accept it.
Now, your first inkling might be to say, "out of money." except I wasn't. The card is somewhat damaged, and it does this from time to time. It's frustrating. As it was in line at the store. I started to sweat because a line was forming, and I really hate holding people up.
Realizing that it was 110 outside, and that the buses only run every half hour, I started to walk away from the groceries. I'd been in the heat all day, I just wanted to get home and die in peace and (cold, air conditioned) climate.
When a guy behind me swiped his card through the terminal.
"What are you doing?!"
That was my audible reaction.
What are you doing? You don't have to do this, dude.
"I can tell you have the money, but everyone deserves a boost once in a while."
I still don't know what to say about that. $17.45 was the total bill.
It's just weird to me how something that I've actually done before surprised me that much. Not saying that everyone should go around paying for other peoples groceries, but why shouldn't something so kind and generous be so much of a rarity. Why does it take tragedy to remind us that we're all breathing the same air, and life is hard no matter who you are. No matter the amount of money in your pocket, no matter the hours spent wondering where life went as you wait for the 5pm mercy kill from work, so you can go home and be to tired to create, or do something you're passionate for. We're all in tight places.
And then I come across a comment a few weeks ago on this here blog, titled Over Fire (Joshua John). It was something, especially at that time, that I needed to hear. It took me days to try to figure out what, if anything I should say.
After some exploration, I found that the commenter has a blog of her own: Set Fire to the Catalyst. Come to find out she has very interesting thoughts, very good photography, and we seem to have some sort of bond. She's right, it feels like I should know her. You should, too. So make sure to click that link a few times, follow her, leave encouraging comments.
You know that quote, "I've always depended on the kindness of strangers?" That quote bugs the shit out of me. Get your act together, and move forward and be a responsible adult.
However, I've always loved the comfort of strangers.