Wednesday 3 September 2014


Have you ever sat next to a group of people on the train, or at a restaurant who were speaking another language and wondered what they were talking about? I don’t know about you, but I used to always imagine it was something far more interesting and scintillating than what the common human spat out (especially the French. I had visions of esoteric deconstructions of philosophers and such, when in truth I’m sure they were talking about how the Americans can really screw up a simple loaf of bread.) As my husband is bilingual (Polish), I used to sit on the train and ask him what various Polish people were saying in hopes of having the inside track to conversations I was clearly meant to be having. To my dismay, it was always a bit mundane and ordinary – barring the occasional amusing domestic argument (let's be honest, those can be fun to listen in on).

Then it got me thinking, all of our insistence on being extraordinary and singling ourselves out from the pack often gets overshadowed by the painful truth of how ordinary we are. (Not to depress us all, you're special, I promise). I of course started a little experiment recently at the playground and at restaurants where I’d listen to what people were talking about – yes, I know, it’s called eavesdropping; what are you going to do, call the manners police? And to my (non) surprise, most people were talking about very similar things. Be it, an argument with their boyfriends/husband/girlfriends/stripper (you paying attention?), or what annoying thing was going down at their child’s school, to the utter mundane topics of, ‘what should I do with my hair?’ And ‘did you see that new store that opened in the West End.’ Obviously I don’t have a wire tap on the whole wide world (like the NSA) but barring political conversations (which can be mundane in themselves) and a bunch of scholars shooting the sh*t about existentialism and physics, well, most of us are talking about the day to day lives that we lead. (and note, most of us are not astronauts, race car drivers, or mensa bright inventors. Cause that would be interesting).

This of course got me to thinking that perhaps we all need to strive to be more extraordinary...or perhaps that we need to start watching more documentaries on the Peruvian llama population so we have weird facts to divulge to our neighbour on the train (Did you know that during the period of extinction, llamas were domesticated and worshipped in the highlands of Peru by the Inca Indians of South America and were named “silent brothers.” You see, not ordinary) Then again, I suppose it takes a bit of work to be more than ordinary and often, there is a fine balance between extraordinary and damn near nuts. In fact, I’m thinking that extraordinary might just be a euphemism for ‘kinda odd.’ 

Nonetheless I’ll take odd over ordinary any day of the week.
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