The Bearded Lady and The Lion Tamer never knew they had so much in common.

April 22, 2009  •  Leave a Comment
The nature of human relations interests me. It seems we all find ourselves at some point, drifting through life looking for someone to relate to on some kind of intelligent level – about something, about anything. Whether we're talking about the latest movie, our hobbies, our jobs, our music, our anguish or our love, we all want someone to listen and to understand what we mean. Sometimes we find them, sometimes we don't. Sometimes we stop searching momentarily and sit back and relax in the wonder of the world around us, hoping that just around the next bend, someone will understand what we're talking about.

As many of you know I recently had the chance to take a ten day trip down the west coast in my van alone. When I hit the road in Washington I had no expectations of the trip, no expectations of what I would see, no expectations of people I'd meet, if anyone. My only small expectation was that I expected the van to run well; and for the most part it did, it likes traveling too. 

Now, from the people I've talked to, not everyone likes to spend days and hours alone. Some people don't mind, others get lonely and would rather have someone to talk to, others just get bored. And yet others, like myself, are willing to sacrifice the hours of solitude for the chance to explore new roads, the chance to seek out places that I may have missed before, the chance to adventure, the chance to meet new people.

Some people have an aversion to making new acquaintances. I could see it in the eyes of the people I would meet passing through little towns, at gas stations, at grocery stores; the distrust in their eyes preventing them from saying too much. After all, you wouldn't want to expend too much energy on a stranger whom you'll never see again now would you?

Sadly many people feel this way, instead of realizing that we are all living on the same planet, all for an exaggeratedly short period of time, all walking around bumping into each other. It seems we'd all be in agreement that acquaintances are agreeable to have, friends are fantastic to keep and that strangers present an opportunity to have either. They present an opportunity to connect with someone on a level, any level, that both can see eye to eye about, an opportunity to learn someone's name, an opportunity to share, an opportunity to create a relationship, short-lived as it may be, and an opportunity to leave a smile on someone's face.  

Relationships may seem complicated but let's not forget the root of that word, relate. That simply, is what it's all about, relating, relating to one another. Whether you're talking about the price of gas with a station attendant, asking someone for directions out of town, or taking a walk with your spouse of twenty-five years, one of life's greatest rewards are relationships, our exclusively human ability to relate to one another on many levels and about many things. Things that bring us joy. So the next time you catch a stranger's glance, driving or strolling past, shoot them a smile or a wave. They may not return the favor, but they may not forget it either.

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