It’s late on this hot Melbourne evening and a number of tiny flies are crawling over my laptop screen as I write this, thanks to the door being open to let in a breeze.
I’ve been thinking about connectivity, especially that between strangers. The Lady Holly and I were talking the other day about how we see maybe hundreds of strangers everyday and that after they leave our eyeline the likelihood is that we will never see them again. Because of this I often find myself forgetting they’re real people; in the sense they they, like me, have their own world around them full of their people, their favourite places to get a coffee, their weird idiosyncrasies nobody knows about. They seem like background players, TV extras, or NPCs, only there to fulfill a small purpose in my story, even if that purpose is only to be seen. But the thing to remember is that I could walk up to any single one of those people, interrupt them, have a conversation, and realise that they’re real, and that they are no less and no more a protagonist as me.
Connectivity’s a funny thing too, because it can sometimes only happen one way, or, happen between two people without either of them ever meeting or communicating to each other. Let me give you an example. There’s a sandwich place not to far from my house that I like to get lunch at sometimes. It’s in the next suburb over from me, Moonee Ponds, and it’s called Under the Breadline – good name, right? I’ve only ever gotten one type of sandwich from there despite the fact I’ve gone there many times. It’s called the Paolo special (presumably because the guy who invented it was called Paolo) and it contains a chicken schnitzel, cheese, lettuce, slice of fried potato, and sweet chilli sauce. If it sounds like an odd combination I assure you it is outstanding. Someone who agrees with me is Paul. I’ve never met Paul, spoken to Paul, or would be able to pick him out of a line up. I don’t even know his last name. But Paul was the one who recommended Under the Breadline to me. You see, a while ago, before I knew of Under the Breadline’s existence, I decided to go on a google hunt to find a nice sandwich shop near my house. As you can probably guess, I was successful. This hunt led me to the website Zomato, which lists all types of eateries in your area, giving a description of each, some photos, and reviews. When I go a-hunting online, whether it be for dining, shopping or other, one of the main things I look out for are reviews. They’re my go to. Mostly because the people leaving the review have no reason to lie to me (unless they’re from the person trying to sell you the thing in which case they’re usually so over the top positive that they’re easy to spot) and so you usually end up with an honest account of the restaurant, product, or other. Paul left a comment for Under the Breadline on Zomato. He gave it an A+ rating and strongly suggested the Paolo special. Because of Paul (last name unknown) I eat the Paolo special on a regular basis. He has directly affected my life and yet will never know it or even know of my existence. Thank you, Paul.
My last point on this matter is you, because we’re connecting right now. While some of you out there are reading this because you know me personally, others of you don’t. So, we’re strangers. Strangers who have each stopped in our individual stories, that, beyond this digital crossing of paths, may never intersect again, and seen each other. Hi. How’re you doing? I hope you’re stories’s going well.