If long, drawn out philosophical writing that makes little sense and jumps around like the person writing it forgot his adderall bores you, stop reading now. Please check back later this week though and I’ll have pictures of me getting choked, beaches, and hot women. Ok, that’s out of the way.
So I’m sitting here at the airport in Dallas with four hours until my connecting flight to Rio leaves. I just had lunch at a T.G.I.Fridays restaurant in the airport, and fortunately my penchant for people watching was greatly served by my single seat facing the airport corridor. There were all types of people in different moods and modes, from smiling and lounging around probably getting ready to embark on vacation, to frustrated and scrambling people trying to hit their gate before their flight departs. It’s literally the perfect scenario to hold my attention (being that I see each person for about 5 seconds).
So while I’m eating and watching, I decide to actually let my brain out of the cage to run rampant for awhile. It may be the Palahniuk book I burned through 100 pages of on my flight here, but I started dissecting different scenarios and trying to figure people out. It actually began as I was getting ready to get off the plane, but it was here where I made some stark realizations.
For one, the airport, airplanes, and the whole concept of air travel put many people in an isolated, lonely spot. You can see it on the faces of everyone walking around, in their seats on the plane, waiting for their flights. Everyone half glances at each other, almost wanting to make eye contact or start conversation, but it never happens. You sit there in your own head wishing your flight would hurry up and board, or just waiting for it to be over.
Well most people do anyway. I make it a point to leave my comfort zone and try to start conversation. This usually results in two things. One, the person is super uncomfortable, squeaks out a half smile and response as to not be rude, and turns away. Two, the person squeaks out a half smile and responds as not to be rude, I keep them engaged in the conversation knowing that they are uncomfortable, and eventually they realize I’m not here to steal their belongings and start to warm up, eventually becoming more comfortable. I like to think that for every person I make uncomfortable I actually make someone else’s trip a little better, so it all balances out.
So this led me to thinking about our culture in general. The other day, walking to the consulate on Michigan Avenue in downtown Chicago, I also noticed that people did anything they could to avoid eye contact. It was mostly on the streets, but even in line at the consulate. People really isolate themselves, and I wouldn’t call our culture unfriendly, but I wouldn’t call it friendly either. The difference in the two situations being that in the airport it seems as though people want to converse but don’t. On the streets people don’t want to converse at all. Either that or it’s the fact that I have them cornered at their terminal and they can’t just walk away. I’ll try to solve this conundrum on my 11 hour flight coming up, and if I do figure it out I’ll be sure to post my findings (I won’t).
So where does this fit in with my blog? It doesn’t. It’s random babble from me. Just kidding, it does have a place. Not that anyone is reading this far in, but I’ll explain it anyway. I actually was reading a website about Rio de Janeiro last night in my hotel, and it actually talked about how Rio de Janeiro is rated one of if not the most friendliest places in the world. I’m obviously thrilled to hear this, and I’m really looking forward to experiencing a friendly culture.
I’ve never been anywhere I really disliked; in fact even the Afghanis I came in contact with in Kandahar were friendly people considering the circumstances. In Europe people were friendly although in some places a bit cold. It seems as though Rio is on another level though as far as friendliness goes. I’m excited to experience it, and see if it rings true. I hope to keep my mind on this topic as I continue in my travels and writings. Well that’s all for now. Hopefully if you made it to the end of this you’re not too discouraged and come back for some of the fun writing. The next post should be good, as it will be my first in Rio!