Most of the time, I don’t imagine the other passengers to have lives. I don’t mean that they look boring or anything, I just mean that I don’t tend to imagine them outside of the time frame in which I see them. Does that make sense? I see a man sitting opposite me on the tube. He is in his thirties, probably. He is bald and he is listening to music on his earphones. He is wearing grey camo shorts and white sneakers. I notice that. Sometimes consciously, sometimes unconsciously. I don’t imagine what his life might be like, though. I don’t imagine him to have a partner or kids – or even a family. He is just a chap sitting opposite me, there, in that time frame. I don’t attach too much of a personality to him, because I just see him as another passenger. The situation is the same with the woman next to him. I note what she is wearing. Perhaps I stereotype her – not knowing that that is what I am doing. But I do not imagine what her feelings or thoughts could be. She is just the woman sitting across from me.
Alright, sometimes I DO play the guessing game in my head, the one where you wonder about people’s lives and what is going on in their heads. But most of the time, I don’t. I just see the other passengers as people. And I don’t think too much about them.
Something occurred to me the other day. I was thinking about people like me who travel on public transport, and how they see each other. I was thinking about them seeing me, and me seeing them. And I realised something. I realised that to them, I am just another passenger. I am not an “I”. I don’t have a back-story. I’m a stranger, an other. No-one worth thinking about. The realisation took me by surprise. I am so used to being the centre of my narrative. What I mean by that, is the centre of the story that is constantly going round in my head. Because, from my point of view, I am the main person in the world. That sounds self-centered, but we all think like that. We are all self-centered because we are all seeing the world from our own point of view. Obviously!
But the other day, I managed to shift my point of view. It was weird. I now understand that to other people, I’m simply “that girl with the green bag” or “that kid sitting down”. And that made me think, if other people see me in that way… then in their world I AM that way. Right? I’m only “me” to myself… And if the view – that I’m just a stranger – is the view belonging to the majority, then does that make it the correct view? I mean, I’m the only one who thinks of me as “me”. The rest of the world thinks of me as a stranger. So are they correct because they outnumber me? I wonder.
I think I’m both.But I also think it’s weird that we think we are right because we are ourselves.
Does that make sense?
Realising that strangers see me as simply a stranger, when there is more to my character than that, has made me understand even further that NOBODY is a stranger. Everybody is the main character in their version of the world.
Before I go, here is a really cool blog on tumblr that I think you should look at: http://letslive-beforewedie.tumblr.com/
I can see you hesitating with your mouse over the link, because you need to get back to your homework/housework/whatever. Well, I can’t see you, but I can imagine you. You’re wondering whether it’s worth clicking, and thinking that you should stop procrastinating and get back to your life. I think you should click 🙂 Because you’ll enjoy the blog. The posts are relatable and I think you’ll find it quite inspiring. Letslive-beforewedie = positivity!