I sat outside the Sydney Airport, scanning the rather empty parking lot for the shuttle to the city that seemed to have forgotten about me, when a old Australian man struck up a conversation with me.
“Got a light?” he asked,
“no, sorry, sir, but that man on his cell phone over there just finished smoking, he probably has one,” I replied while motioning in a direction off to my right.
The man got a light and returned to the bench where I sat.
“American or Canadian?” He asked me while blowing his smoke the opposite direction of me.
“American,” I said as cheerfully as I could having just been deep in thought about how I just landed half way around the world alone, “I’ve never been to Australia before, I’m excited.”
The man looked around as if he too was in a brand new world, “yeah, change is in the air.”
At first I thought he was being sarcastic in a way that I just didn’t understand, but in that moment I realized he was really being contemplative, basing his words off some sort of wisdom that I had yet to acquire.
I looked around not feeling change being in the air because my arrival was the result of a natural progression of events for me, and said, “well, everything seems normal around here, like, I’m sure this is how this place normally operates.” My voice cracked midway as I spoke as the emotion of realizing that I had really flown here alone hit me again, it came in waves.
“But you’re here,” the man said, “that’s a pretty big change, and not just for you, I tell you change is in the air, I can feel it.”
Just then the man’s ride pulled up. He put out his cigarette and a woman, who looked to be his daughter, helped him load his luggage into the car.
“You take care of yourself, and enjoy Oz,” he said to me with a grim as he got into the car.
“I will!, thank you!”I responded just before he closed the door and the car drove off.
I sat there for a few minutes thinking, “I have really done this.”
Amazingly, people are rather normal, but for some reason everyone wants a label for their particular segment of normal. It seems as if everyone likes their freedoms and so called individuality but are, at the same time, hesitant to accept their own differences as normal.
I’ve noticed many people embracing when they are informed that their difficulty in social situations is related to some sort of disorder. People buy into it because it solves a huge problem in their lives as well as gives them an excuse for acting against social norms.
You can tell when a label is really just another term for ‘normal’ when it hits pop culture and all of a sudden many many people have a disorder of some kind. Genius marketing. They are selling a sense of togetherness through a concept that can neither be seen nor touched. The payment for these labels fuels parts of industries like pharmaceuticals, therapy, and media. The trick isn’t to find a product that solves problems, it is to sell ideas that give people peace of mind in knowing that when they speak of their life issues people will believe them and not write them off as someone who is still in the default label of ‘crazy’.
I had a boyfriend for a long, long time who ended up dumping me for another girl. I was heartbroken and spent years picking up the pieces and rebuilding my life with the friends who stood by my side. After a while I realized that his departure was in fact one of the best things that ever happened to me. I’m happy, more carefree, have good friends, and have accomplished a lot. I thought I couldn’t be happier, until I found out that the girl he left me for dumped his ass. Booya!
I looked at the list on facebook of the 60 or so individuals (out of over 500) who indicated that they were actually going to the reunion and thought to myself, “most of those people aren’t worth seeing for the $65 ticket fee.” I just finished my MBA, 65 bucks is a lot of cash for me until I get my act together. Also, I can see what people look like and what they are up to on facebook.
But most importantly (and this is so high school, I love it) the cool people who were supposed to plan the reunion had cool things going on in their lives and so they were unable to plan the reunion. This left the planning to the highest bidder.
Well… so, well, you know, I didn’t go to uncool people’s parties in high school, so why would I pay to go to a party ten years later that was planned by those same uncool people?