Wednesday, August 07, 2019

Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered 

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Summer vibes.

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A man trying to fit his oversized bag into the overhead bin looked angrily at the compartment while not understanding how his overhead-bin-sized-bag would not fit. A flight attendant came to the rescue and turned the bag 90° clockwise and pushed it easily into the available space. When the flight landed a woman stood up and started towards the toilet before realizing that the plane’s exit was the other way. Even then she seemed unsure. Later in the terminal at a sandwich shop a man stood in front of a menu board looking so intensely at it you’d think he expected it to deliver the meaning of life. After a minute he abandoned the task and walked away in a huff. While I waited for my boarding call I entered the men’s room to be met by a woman shaking water from her hands. For a moment I thought I had gone to the wrong restroom but the urinals told me otherwise. This woman clearly now recognized her mistake, dropped her head and muttered, “Excuse me.” It’s a look I’ve come to know as “The Bewilderment”.

Don’t get me wrong, even though I am wrong plenty of the time. Yet I’d like to think that when I am wrong, I stop for a second and reassess my wrongness, then hopefully correct it rather than staring confusedly or madly at the problem until someone clarifies the situation immediately! This kind of correction is common enough and we all do it but not the Bewildered.

The Bewildered confound me. I’m always behind someone at a coffee shop who is trying to decide what drink they should have today as if they have never ordered a cup of coffee in their lives and this particular Gordian Knot cannot be solved. Could it be that hard to know what kind of beverage you might enjoy? Is it such a debilitating mental exercise even if you get it wrong and find yourself drinking a black coffee only to think, maybe I should have had a bit of milk? No, it is not. If you find yourself crossing a street and then realize you don’t know where you are going, at least have the sense to get to the other side first, rather than turn around, stop, look every which way but the one you are pointing and find you are now stranded. Get stranded later, on the safe side of the intersection and everyone will be better for it.

This makes me sound like an impatient, heartless arse, which I guess I am. Of course I don’t really care if you can’t make up your mind about what sandwich you want. I only worry that I am looking directly at my own future. The unfortunate commonality amongst the Bewildered is their greying hair, aged faces and the look of dismayed confusion. I am not looking forward to the day I can’t associate the shape of luggage with the hole I’m putting it in, unable to comprehend a menu of only six items, or walking soberly into the wrong restroom. Lately I have felt a fog, a haziness of the mind I associate with holidays like Christmas. If I’m on a very active vacation in which every day brings something new, I feel sharp and nimble but on those lazy days of naps in the sun and when one day blends to another my facilities of decision making and recall fall as easily as a book from a sleeping man’s hand.

There must be some place that exists between non-stop go and completely no-go stopped? Perhaps in that place of just the right amount of business lies an active mind and rested body. I personally doubt that all the sudoko, word puzzles and crosswords will subdue the fade that happens in our heads, but I do believe that being physically active is a far better tonic if only because you have to believe in something, don’t you?

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