The Perfect Stranger

Hi. Welcome to Entry #49. This is one that takes us back to the very beginning. The year was 2010 – and a lot had been happening. Sort of felt it was time for another quest of self-discovery; so, I left home. Destination: Port Harcourt City! It was during my stay there that I started this blog – against popular advice (that’s a story for another day, tho).
26.06.10: Wrote this entry on the 8-hour trip back from the city. Personal fastest time on ANY post X_X. Still wondering why it never got published all that time. Random? Maybe not! A lot has changed between then and now, So, I’ve adapted it a bit. Please don’t notice.
“There’s no telling a good man on a bad day from a bad one on a good day” – Imisi
“A single event can awaken within us a stranger totally unknown to us. To live is to be slowly born” – Antoine de Saint-Exupery
It’s almost a general consensus that there may never be total world peace. That life may never play out exactly as we’ve imagined it. So, dear as it may be, the concept of perfection is fast fading to myth. The closer we get, the faster it seems to run. Still, we chase; the allure is irresistible and the thoughts compelling.  Some of us find excellence and renewed hunger on that chase. Some others find a comfortable spot for a good view.
Whatever the class, we all come close a few times. Whether it’s the chased losing steam – or the tracks running too close to the audience, everyone gets a rush every now and again.
Imagine, for a second, that the world was perfect. That everyone saw things from your exact standpoint; that there was nothing like conflict. Imagine that all bus-conductors were well-mannered; that no one had to raise his voice to get a point across. Picture a world where the ‘outdoors’ were just as safe as being indoors; where no one had to steal anything for any reason! Picture that raindrops would apologize and make amends on days when they breached your umbrella!

Imagine that the world was ‘complete’ – that we didn’t have to strive for anything. That potential was equal to immediate result. How beautiful would that be? Unspeakably so – until we reach the end of the line and find fetid frustration. Kids won’t have to rush home before dark – and mothers will be worried sick. Economies would lose the rich-poor market dynamics and eventually become stagnant. Populations would double, triple, then quadruple because no one would die. If you’ve ever wondered why the world isn’t perfect, I hope this sorts that out.

 Perfection may not be attainable – but we all catch a glimpse every now and then. Ever felt this familiarity around someone you’ve just met? Almost as if you’ve known them for years? A stranger on the queue, a co-commuter on a bus – or just a random passer-by? Sometimes we wonder what forms the chemistry; other times, we’re just too carried away. So caught up we find ourselves unloading on them. Sometimes, we even reveal sworn secrets. Funny how something so strange can feel so familiar! “Afterall, our paths will never cross again”. “Plus, she looks like a really decent lady”. “I’m glad someone finally listened”.

 Three things stand out through these encounters: 1. We feel more than we know. In fact, we know next to nothing and often just go with the gut! 2. A need is met. Whether it was a need to be heard or appreciated – or just a routine need for company, something clicks. 3. We suppress the need to probe. We’re scared to ruin this semblance of perfection, so we just let the moment fend for itself. We don’t care for any extra details that may tarnish the moment. Auto-pilot; wherever you lead! Ignorance is, indeed, bliss. But is it?

 Turn this scene on its head – and milk it for everything nasty. Imagine that, instead of warmth, what we feel in that instance is resentment. Or that the long-nursed need was for a channel through which to vent anger. Imagine that the moment was so perfectly wrong that we ignored the chance to probe. Imagine that the moment has passed – but the errors of hasty judgments and actions echo forever!

 There may never be a shortage of strangers and random-meets; meaning we always have to do the split-second assessments. Still, how often do we (wrongly) rely on what we see or hear? Angels have been known to roam in the filthiest of apparels – and the world’s deadliest predators come disguised as pets. But we already know (that assumptions can be costly). We see it all the time. Sometimes, it’s mild; other times, it’s terminal and grossly irreparable – as with the #Aluu4.

 So, who is the world’s perfect stranger? Is it the man on the queue we hit it off with like we’ve been friends forever? Or the one we take one look at and conclude we’ve been enemies with from the previous life? How about neither?

 How about you took a long hard look in the mirror and asked what you would do if a drunk officer unjustly delayed you? What if you were en route to a terribly important interview? What if he had a gun? Not sure it’s possible to tell without being there!There’s this story of a manager who slapped his CEO at a heated meeting. It’s not likely the manager woke with thoughts  of mutiny but the ‘circumstance’ prevailed against reason! If that slap came your way, being CEO, how would you call it? (How) Would you help him regret his action? Of course, said CEO fired him – but then hired him back. The ‘why’ remains a trade secret.

 Point is, until we can accurately predict all our actions in advance, we’re no better than those we judge in haste. And, because no one ever sees the whole picture form any one point, the challenge becomes eternally difficult.

 Look no further, the perfect stranger you seek is you; it’s I. It’s in the circumstances that influence our actions; the ones that complicate otherwise simple ‘left or right’ choices. A ram may bite when pushed to the wall but it’ll have to do a lot more to pass for a lion!

I really care what you think. There’s a comment feature below. Personal experience or general lore, please 

share. Thanks for reading.

This entry was posted in #ALUU4, Choices, Perfection, Strangers. Bookmark the permalink.

10 Responses to The Perfect Stranger

  1. no1fan says:

    Been waiting for this since a couple of posts away. I was talking about judging others with a friend a couple of days ago and our conclusion was we focusing on our selves and not other people, if we are busy working on ourselves we would be too busyThe prefect stranger is really the person in the mirror.your post is not long today, still drives home the message. good to see you back here so soon after the last post. keep it up!

  2. no1fan says:

    Did i forget to add… Proud of you!

  3. Imisi says:

    You're a mind-reader! Sure glad it hit the mark.I hope to confidently say I've learnt to keep it short, but that's a bit early – considering this was a dig-up. Lol.Again, you've come first here. Thanx!

  4. Imisi says:

    Ahwww, thanx. That means a lot!

  5. Pearl-eyes says:

    "Look no further, the perfect stranger you seek is you, its I…" That's something I would be quoting for a long long time. Nice writeup as always, thumbs up.

  6. Imisi says:

    Wowz, thanx. I'm glad it had such impact. Trust you've been good?

  7. 'Until we really can predict our actions,we r no better dan dose we judge in haste' Imisi! Wow! Been reading this post for a while now, dunno what to say but Wow! This is a beauitful write-up! (I still ask why you have refused to be a writer). Our hasty judgments either lead us to having one more friend or regretting the value of one we looked down on who would have been a good friend… The perfect stranger is indeed us…More to it, We determine a lot that happens to us…we choose everything we want and when it all comes crashing down; we blame someone for it… This is really deep! Thanks for this lovely write-up!

  8. Dhamani Kanz says:

    I've always seen beauty in imperfection.. can't help it.

  9. Imisi says:

    Ehyaa. Thanx for the very lovely words. I like the dimension you've added; responsibility. We play 'boss' and (attempt to) control everything – until something goes wrong. Then, we elect to play 'victim'.Well, with people like you reading, maybe I'll become a writer someday. Lolz.Thanx for the time, Ayomiku!

  10. Imisi says:

    Hahaha. That's insight at work. Nowhere that outlook can't take you!

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