Sometimes you spend too much time indoors, or looking at screens, and you forget how nature feels.
Sometimes we whitewash our brains with kids cartoons, or Instagram feeds and neglect to realize that the world is raw and jagged and unprepared like a bed in the summer.
The Transcendentalists pushed for an escape from the urban spread into the safety and beauty of nature in order to purify their minds, but I don’t think you even need to go that far in order to feel more alive, if you’re aware.
Now, I’ve never been high on anything or even drunk, so when I talk about being awake, it’s more in the vein of Annie Dillard than mescaline. So, let me ask you,
are you awake?
I’ve lived in cities and countrysides, and no matter where I am I can fall into a drowsy routine, distracted by screens and clean picture books, rather than seeing the unkempt reality of escaping a boundary of one kind or another. You don’t need to escape to Banff to experience awe, or at least, curiosities.
For instance, when I lived in downtown Chicago, I stepped outside one winter and found a dead bird on the sidewalk, frozen with a cigarette shoved into its mouth.
You could also find plenty of dead-bird-paint smeared along the streets of the city, each serving as a minor memento mori if you stop and think about it too long. Why am I writing about bird blood on the pavement? Because it’s exactly things like this that get edited out of your favorite bingeworthy TV shows, or cropped out of that likeworthy Instagram post.
Everything is interesting.
You’ll remember this more if you hang around little kids, but for those of you who don’t, let me remind you: Don’t let YouTube or your streaming service of choice tell you what to be interested in. With the right attitude, a stroll down your block is more interesting than any Oscar winner.
Don’t get me wrong, I love film and quality production, but I also realize how often I’ve opted for something less interesting than more interesting. I lived in Guatemala for a year and I regret every single time I stayed in and stared at a screen instead of exploring the city I was in.
Netflix is for when you’re sick, or cozying up with your sweetie.
The rest of the world is for the rest of the time.
This past weekend I was in Las Vegas with my best friend. The majority of our time was merely spent walking around looking at everything. What if we applied this approach to our daily lives? What if we could go into every day with the expectation that we don’t know what it will be like?
I mean, look around you. How many interesting things are around you right now that you overlooked because you assumed your world is uninteresting? It’s worth a shot.
To conclude, here is a list of 10 things that are interesting around me in this airport right now:
1. The old man’s gold sequined jacket and his Indian wife
2. There are stripes in the floor which all converge at the drinking fountain (The airport wants you to stay hydrated)
3. That couple with matching Christmas pajama pants
4. The way that Chinese girl laughs with her hands cupped like she’s holding water
5. The wooden walls which, if you squint, look solid red
6. Someone left a fork and spoon in their Starbucks cup. What on earth were they using those for in their drink?
7. My friend’s stray hair
8. Everyone has a phone in their hand whether they’re looking at it or not
9. Didn’t know Bluetooth headsets were still a thing
10. Why are airport ceilings SO high & how do they change those lightbulbs?