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Monday, May 15

Is This Just Fantasy?

One of the guys at work, a man of senior, though not ancient, years, has a The Matrix style screensaver, rolling unintelligible green symbols down his screen in strings at various distances from the viewer. Perhaps he's just a fan of the movie? Perhaps he's trying to be "down with da kids", in which case he's a few years too late. Perhaps his screen is a window on the real matrix that's holding the whole of our confusing world together, and the movie wasn't really a movie, but a ghastly insight into the mechanics of reality.

Probably not.

The world is, however, an odd place. The simplest of things cause some of the greatest joy, and the most complicated of things promise to solve all of our problems, once their side effects have been sorted out - come back in 12 years and we might have it ready. I live a life which constantly confuses me. I realise now that I've not been comfortably settled in this life for several years, now being one of the times when I'm much more on top of things, yet totally out of my comfort-zone of homely familiarity. This is largely my own doing - the life of a travelling performer playing a large part in contributing to the weirdnesses I notice about me. I'd rather have it this way.

The world doesn't make life easy. You might be settled in a routine. You might have a job which you go to for a regular number of hours each day. You might have a family you go home to and do this and that with. You might sit down every night and watch the same TV shows. Then one day, your job becomes harder, or the company has troubles and threaten your job. Or maybe your child becomes ill and needs a break in the routine. Or maybe you get injured at work in an accident that was not your fault, successfully sue your employer and then wonder why people don't treat you as well as they used to. The point? Change happens, and we must adapt to it.

Even if you think you interact with nobody in the average day, you're wrong. Of those countless interactions, one of them could yield a significant change in the course of your life - either short-term or long. It just depends. It's almost random. Recognising this can help foster a sense of responsibility in how you interact with people. On the way to lunch today, I had a silly impulse. I saw some people crossing the zebra crossing ahead of me. I suddenly reckoned that I could whack my foot down on the accelerator and nip into the gap that they'd walked out of. I thought that I'd be able to get through without hitting them and that it would be fun. Then I pictured what might happen if one of them doubled-back to get something and how, despite the fact that I'd previously been moving slowly towards their roundabout, I'd suddenly turned my car into an unstoppable limb-breaker. I played through the enquiry in my head and decided that I wouldn't have a leg to stand on, nor would my victim, no doubt. I realised in a split second that my envisaged behaviour, although probably unlikely to go through this worst case scenario, which immediately transformed me from a lunching colleague into an impulsive, reckless, bone-breaker, was not the way I wanted to go. The same process could be applied to less extreme cases, though. The way you behave around other people, or directly towards other people, has the potential to affect the courses of both of your lives.

So, think twice about how you treat other people. I guess that's what I'm saying. A harsh word could tip someone over the edge. Conversely a quick smile for a stranger might stop them tipping over the edge, or running at you with scissors (the most dangerous thing to run with).

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