Ride Along

Before you jump to any conclusions, no I did not get a chance to ride along in a police car, even though that would have been pretty awesome. What I want to write about, is however, the whole concept of riding along with complete strangers. In public transport, or maybe just bumping into them on the street. If you haven’t got enough of those “life is a journey” metaphors, this train-of-thought is about to turn into an accidental stroll on the sunny sidewalks of life. Are you guys fueled up?

Most of my days of being an ever-curious introverted weirdo went into taking a lot of these journeys alone. And I’m not saying that other people don’t travel alone, but I’m sure playing Candy Crush or taking a cute selfie on your phone while you’re at it, does not equate to actually observing things around you. Of course, being a girl adds a bunch of restrictions on how much of my surroundings I am able to explore alone, without risking a misadventure. I take this with a pinch of salt and use it to brew myself a cup of oddly appetizing sweet tea anyway. (Side note: a lot of sweet things taste amazing with a pinch of salt!). So it’s still my cup of tea!

So let’s get to the crux of this? Why did I even feel like embarking on these trips to alone-ville? As a kid, I was painfully awkward and shy. I had no social skills. I thought boys were “eww!” and never felt like girl-enough to mingle with most Barbie-doll owning, perfectly pony-tailed princesses with pretty dresses. For some reason, I never really felt like looks added up to anything. Maybe because I used to mainly wear boy-clothes, not out of choice, initially, but because that was what was bought for me.

On the other hand, I was always curious about how stuff worked. I suppose I was a natural thinker. I practically figured out ‘sex’ without reading any books on it, by the age of ten. A girl and friend once happened to ask me about how pregnancy worked and I just put my ideas together and explained it to her. I later looked it up on the internet and it seemed to tally. I’m not sure if that qualifies me as smart or simply sexually advanced.

Oh and I would keep my head buried in Harry Potters and idolized Hermione. For what it’s worth, I hope I’m close. I’m sure Hermione would approve of me doing a PhD.

As a consequence, it was simply hard for me to connect with anyone (in real world, so Hermione doesn’t count 😦 ) who would share similar ideas and interests. Or perhaps I never bothered reaching out to anyone else. I just always felt extremely contained in my own small world.

Keeping myself at a distance and observing everyone else’s life, was a study. A quest for omniscience. And so, coming back to the journeys part, I would take these train and bus journeys alone, only to observe life in its most vivid and vibrant form around me. Because though unknown, everyone has a story, and real life stories are fascinating, if told the right way. Eyes linger and there’s only so much to stare into the distance. We see the same stuff but we experience it so differently. It’s the same journey, and yet the destinations are so different. Life is a multi-valued map to the same input, and there exists no inverse.

So if at any point in life, you feel that you’re in a fix, trapped by the walls of your own inner demons… ride along with a stranger. Their story probably has a better conclusion. Even though life doesn’t make sense to you right now, somewhere, to someone else, it’s the best thing that they’ve ever experienced.

 

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