It’s true. When you settle down for the night and let the brain run free and process whatever tensions or issues the frontal lobe function had been suppressing during the day a portal opens up into the psyche. What follows is, more often than not, a weird hotchpotch of ad hoc, abstract thoughts and images that run riot before dissipating as the brain finally finishes defragmenting itself, letting you fall asleep.
One night, with my psyche trying to figure out which particularly elusive work issue was stopping me from falling asleep, not one but three ad hoc, abstract images – Lint from subconscious pockets and not really what you’d call profound– appeared. Gone, I thought, was any chance of finding an answer to the issue I’d since forgotten all about, not realizing that it was all part of the plan to coax the issue out into the open.
One image was of a humorist, Art Buchwald narrating his escapade in a New York taxi, another was a scene from a George Clooney film, George was expanding on how to pack a carry-on, and the third “image” was a comment by a woman* I’d read in a thread on Social Media that same day.
(* In her comment the woman explained how, when sitting on a train one day, preparing for a lecture, a man leaned over and started offering his “expert” (note the quotes) opinion on what she should say and how. As I understood it, the woman was an authority on her subject and with more pressing things to think about she let the incident ride sharing her story later in one particular Social Media thread to an audience, who promptly shared opinions and advice with her on how to counter such “misogynous” (note the quotes) intrusions in future.)
So how do these three elements from different media platforms, that decades separate, all come together? Well, they don’t and then they do… You see, they all had things in common, like Pulpits, and Dominoes, and Travel, plus some of what you might call “Maskirovka”.
Pulpits because the humorist, the actor and the lecturer all used their respective platforms to get their messages across, directly or indirectly, to partial or perhaps not so partial audiences…
- The humorist through his op-eds in the now sadly defunct “Herald Tribune” commenting on everyday life, and haranguing politicians
- The actor, through his various characters, speaking about intelligent, read considerate living
- … And the lecturer, I never learnt her name, delivering lectures on her subject of (unknown) expertise, to an audience, there for the community spirit.
Dominoes for the cascade effect these events would or could have on others, for example…
- The humorist who by saying “Thanks” to a 1970s New York cab driver (think it through) might just have got a) the cabbie to be a bit friendlier to the next fare, assuming that the fare wasn’t a total numbhead to begin with, and b) the cab riding/departure gate queueing/train commuting op-ed reader to remember to think more about causes and effects.
- The time-efficient salesman who, speaking to life-hacking padawans, both in the auditorium and watching the film, about how to interact with others, seamlessly, with foresight and, I might add, elegance.
- The lecturer who, through her simple comment in some Social Media thread, said more in 140 characters than others could put in a book about the need for empathy and consideration for other people’s comfort zones. She also got across that expertise is not the sole reserve of a certain gender, race, class (or caste) or age.
Travel? I’ll let you connect the dots. Maskirovka? Read on.
Lola (L-O-L-A), from Willesden Green
As the saying goes, it’s not about the destination. It’s about the journey, what you do, who you meet along the way and what you take home from the experience.
Once the physical journey is over and a distant memory, be prepared for the moment, never of your choosing, when, while attempting to elucidate angsts and issues, the Psyche will resort to all manner of images, memories, and conversations from a myriad of past and recent encounters and experiences in an effort to coax the Freudian worm out of the woodwork. Images of George Clooney fast tracking through some airport security check… the inside of a yellow 1970s Checker Taxi… some bridge somewhere (very symbolic), plus whatever you’ve looked at in Pinterest, are therefore all fair game in the nightly battle of Psyche versus Angst so you might as well relax and enjoy the show.