11/26: I currently am writing this as I’m sitting at the Oakland airport gate terminal. I missed my 6:10am flight and will be here for another 2 hours. I’m off to the side of a few middle-aged workpeople as they catch their morning “eggs and toast” (or, I should say, food from some Mexican restaurant called Otaez across from a Jamba Juice and Subway).
These 4 and a half days back home have been relatively nice, no matter how lonely it may have seemed with my 2 brothers out all weekend working their holiday shifts at retail chains. With them being away, I was able to spend more time out (shopping… please save my wallet!) with my mom and seeing the few that really make home, “home” for me (if that made any sense!).
These past few days have gone by in a whizz, so I haven’t had much time to really recollect and stick myself in front of a journal or laptop. Recalling my Wednesday night flight back home, I had easily one of the most engaging, enlightening, and genuinely amazing talks with the passenger next to me. Most people generally keep to themselves on these flights with their light reading, laptops, or ears tuned out to mp3 players. I like to try to make conversation whenever I can–I guess it’s the sense that I constantly seek out inspiration, enlightenment, and the goodness in people everywhere, whether it be for the better or worse of me.
This guy’s name was Aaron. He seemed to be in his early 30s–a lone, white man with his gray fleece sweater and collared plaid shirt underneath, clad in blue jeans and, surprisingly, a pair of some tacky brown “cowboy” shoes (or what may have reminded me of them). I noticed he was listening to deadmau5 on his iPhone, so, as I settled down, I mentioned to him,
“Oh, I like deadmau5!”
He smiled and agreed with me. He proceeded to show me this other amazing song by another artist, Lindsey Sterling, called “Crystallize”. She fuses dubstep with her rad violin-playing. I loved it.
He then showed me another song, handing me his phone and watching a video. After talking about music, we then went into what we were going home for–Thanksgiving. How we think our Thanksgivings will be this year around. Our families. Where we’re from.
We then went into talking about our work down here. I’m an undergrad at UCI, studying English and Film. He works at a mortgage company in Newport (has been there for 2 months, previously was down in San Diego). He then asked me what I think of the different lifestyles between NorCal and SoCal. How I like it here and there. I began to offer my point of view, and he graciously, completely agreed with me, mentioning how “image-driven” and “right-sided” people tend to be down here, while he misses the clashes and diversity of all the art, culture, politics, economics, and often driven, opinionated minds of those from the Bay. I couldn’t agree more.
There never really was much of a dull moment in our conversation, nor were there many awkward pauses. In meeting someone new–possibly a young, fresh face, and perhaps an experienced and established person to learn from–conversation comes easily when you’re just a tad like-minded with opinions and interests to offer to the other.
I asked him how he ended up at his business job after he explained much of how his family are big “movie buffs”, showing me pictures of his mom and his sister who is just a few years older than I am. Although it may sound like a boring business job, he told me of how gratifying it is to be able to sell people their homes (if I wasn’t mistaken?), comforted by the fact that he does establish that connection of helping others and seeing them from time to time, being approached and thanked for his work with them. He loves the aspect of being able to just help them out with that, and establish some sort of connection with them.
He was particularly proud of the fact that I seek out what does make me happy. There were few moments where he would go on, as his face would change and lighten up, saying, “I think what’s most important is doing what makes you most happy… What is it that makes you happy?” (Not aware that he was asking a question…) He seemed to really like my company and genuine interest in the conversation.
We got into a long talk about movies, I myself mentioning how “Inception” is one of my modern-day, recent favorites. He was particularly impressed with that and went on to gush about it with me. He began to mention how great the music is in the film, as I added that I wrote a research paper last year about Hans Zimmer’s music in that film (a true masterpiece, if I do say so myself!!!) and he told me two of the songs from the soundtrack he loved. He then explained how great the movie was, in that it leaves the audience thinking, with something to take with them, that you can watch numerous times… A movie like that doesn’t come often. I then tossed a few names of some movies I love, and he added that he does like the darker, more moving tales in films. He recommended classics like “A Clockwork Orange” to me, a movie called “A Big Blue”… We went on to talk about classic films that are always studied and how well-put they are, in their music and whatnot… He also got me extremely interested in going to see “Cloud Atlas” which deals with the whole idea of “six degrees of separation”–in that we are all connected in some way, shape, or form… A completely beautiful idea and concept… He mentioned how he hasn’t been moved from a movie in so long.
We then just kept going on and on about everything… Before leaving and waiting for our checked-in bags, he told me about this awesome event in SF that he went to a while back that is a “must-go-to”. Of course, he asked me if I drink and whatnot, and I mentioned that I am a faithful straight-edge, waiting til I’m purely 21 and he madly respected that (then realizing how young I still am, but not letting that weather our conversation). The event was called “Nightlife at the California Academy of Sciences,” which seemed like an awesome event with music and shows and performances and this awesome nightlife… His buddies randomly took him after a Giants game, I believed, and he loved it. After all of this, he carded me and told me to Stay in touch. I genuinely loved the chat with the guy, telling him it was easily one of the best plane chats I’ve had. He was touched by that, obviously. And so, I was back home and loving the atmosphere of the East Bay Area past 11 o’clock that night.
Who knows if I will keep in touch with this guy. I have to say, he did take a genuine interest in me and it’s been a long time since I’ve been able to hold a real conversation with a stranger… nor anyone while I’ve been down here for that matter. It was really comforting.
I guess the point of my sharing this with you, even though it’s been more than a week now since it’s happened, is that you must always remember that a friend can be found anywhere and everywhere. Too often we’re too scared to reach out to the person next to us, but we’re all here living in this crazy world, and we’ve only got this one life to live… Why not make it worthwhile? And if you make a fool out of yourself? Well, just go on to the next person.