A few days ago I bumped into my neighbor Roy at the grocery store. I’ve been Roy’s neighbor for quite some time and for all I knew Roy was an average height, average weight, average bald, pensioner. There wasn’t anything interesting or distinctive about Roy. When I saw him - and I seldom did - I said hello or good morning and he replied, we probably exchanged a few remarks on the weather, but that was as far as our conversations ever went. But when I saw him in the shop I told him that I’m exhibiting my paintings and invited him to my event, he was pleased and we talked about art, which somehow led us to the human mind, which somehow led us to discuss consciousness and subconsciousness, and I learned that Roy was a therapy hypnotist and has helped many people including himself overcome addictions, phobia’s and helped them get rid of destructive and undesirable behavior, I was fascinated and as we talked more I also found out that he was a wrestler and had lived a very intriguing life and had amazing stories to tell. We talked for a very long time and I left feeling uplifted and in awe of my very average looking retired neighbor. Looks are deceiving, I always thought that old people only liked to complain about the weather and say how dreadful it was, which Roy did when I first bumped into him, we said hello and because it was a windy rainy day, he made a negative remark about the weather as most people do, to which I chose, let me repeat that “I CHOSE” not to confirm, I smiled and said “No, it’s not terrible, it just makes my day a bit slower”, I saw his face light up and he said that that was a good way of putting it, then our conversation diverged to much more interesting things like art and the human brain. If I had just agreed and said yes, the weather is terrible as most people do, we would have walked away still not knowing anything interesting about each other. Socially we are programmed to say what everybody else is saying, if everyone is complaining about politics, prices and the weather then we feel a social obligation to do so too, we like to keep it safe, mundane and boring.
I thought about all the amazing lives lived, incredible experiences, adventures, and stories locked up tightly into average unassuming faces that we just pass by without noticing or worse; we notice them, exchange miserable comments about the weather with them and walk away.