May 23 2011

Perspective 101

A crowd was gathered.  He had a captive audience.

“I mean, come on.  How many tornadoes or hurricanes is it going to take for those people to learn they should not be living where they live?” said the man in line at an airport in northern California, near the Pacific Ocean, near a fault line or two.   He must have been just passing through town. Nearby TV monitors were reporting a hospital badly damaged and the death toll already at 89 in Joplin, Missouri after a Sunday tornado.

The man didn’t single out Missouri; Mississippi was next up as he continued speaking from his soap box with the voice of authority about  undesirable locations to set up home.  I had already been in touch with friends near Joplin.  I moved to another part of the gate area while the A group boarded the Southwest flight.

“Yo, bro!  My bitch is in jail and I’m getting on a plane.  I need you to wire $1500 to the lawyer.  I’ll pay you back tonight.  I got the money.  I need you to do this.  I promised her she wouldn’t have to stay there again.”

A B47 boarding pass earned me a front row seat to learning more about the woman in lock up as the man went through his list of flush, generous friends, talking more hurriedly on the phone, urgency mounting as we got closer to the plane door, and then to picking a seat.   He was pretty young, tattooed and casually dressed.  I wondered what he did for a living to easy swing a 4-digit get-out-of-jail card and be traveling on a weekday afternoon.  I picked a middle seat between to run-of-the mill business men playing games on an iPad and iPhone.

Everyday I wrestle with location and finance decisions but relatively speaking, I’m free as a bird.  I was flying back from southern California.  I don’t see it as a place I’d ever live full time but I already have plans to pass through for a day again next month. I find travel delights, entertains and gives me perspective, sometimes (often) in rather unexpected ways.    Two hours later I was on the Trimet during rush hour in Portland.

Expanding your horizons is pretty easy.  Take a day away from facebook where only the good stuff hits the wall and get a more realistic, unedited take on people’s lives. Travel – around the block, to the next city, the next state or country but walk or use mass transportation otherwise  you’ll miss out on a lot – good and bad.  Tourist choose, orchestrating their experience.  Travelers take it all in.

Tell me of your travels!  Trix