06 February, 2013

(anything can happen)

Last night, the Photographer showed me a movie that left me absolutely floored. "Life in a Day," a documentary in which the creators sent out a request for videos of people recording their day all on the same day: 24 July, 2010. By the time they cut off the submissions, they had received 4500 HOURS of footage from 192 countries.

As those words appeared on the screen, less than five minutes into the movie, I found myself already sucked in. Right at that point, I knew that what followed would only be icing on the cake for me, and there was absolutely no possible way for me to not enjoy it all, regardless of the footage they displayed.

And I was right. That movie was everything I could have possibly hoped it would be. And more, if that's even possible.

You see, I have always been wholly enamored with people's backstories. I was just telling Misty (who hasn't been added to the Cast page yet because we only just started talking) the night previous all about my thoughts on this subject, and to have it come up from someone else makes me feel like I'm thinking about the right things.

In any event, what has always held my interest is the odds that any two people would meet. Incalculable odds that any two people will meet (like this girl in the bookstore's coffee shop who keeps pacing back and forth and eyeing me) and even more staggering are the odds that the two personalities will get along with one another. And it gets even more mind-blowing the closer the two people connect.

This is all relevant because Life in a Day held so many stories from people literally all over the world, all who didn't mind total strangers peeking a glimpse into a wholly normal day in their lives. The only difference from the day previous and the day after is the addition of a video camera.

A few of the stories that impacted me the most include the Korean man who was on in ninth year of a bicycle trip around the world; the man my own age who called his mum to ask what he should say to the girl he wanted to ask out; the man who fainted in the delivery room (I thought this story was always fiction, but to watch the camera drop, and have someone else pick it up to show the man on the floor proved otherwise to me); the Japanese father and (maybe e
3 or 4-year-old) son praying for their deceased wife/mother; and the young woman who wraps up the film by relating to us in her car (I do some of my videos in my car!) during a thunderstorm that she had hoped for something great to happen during her day, and being only a little disappointed when nothing great did happen to her.

There are so many more beautiful stories. Hell, they're all beautiful. Even the stories of people who hold wholly different viewpoints on life than I do are beautiful. They're beautiful because they're real. They're beautiful because they possessed people to live them.

There was a man who truly believed homosexuality was a disease. A woman putting out offerings to Vishnu, and a man who loved Jesus Christ, his Lord and savior, more than anything else. A reformed addict facing the possibility of ever getting addicted again. A man who said that his greatest fear was his wife getting cancer again, and when it happened, and they're working through it, he said he is now fearless because if he can live through his greatest fear, everything else pales in comparison.

All of these people touched me in a way I never thought possible. These stories impacted me more than anything else in my life. After the movie, I experienced a satori. I realized that my life, while maybe not all about the wrong things, was definitely consumed by not-as-productive things.

If stories really do interest me, if connecting with others really is something I'm passionate about, if there are so many other people in the world who are living lives of every possible adjective, then what am I doing? Is this really my life, spinning my wheels in the middle of Nowhere, Maine, while life happens around me?

I don't fucking think so. The only issue is how. How does one instigate (that's not the word I wanted to use, but I'm getting too worked up to think presently, so deal with it) such connections? How does one collect such stories and share them with those who could be helped or learn something from them? Why isn't this idea more important to more people?

Once we stop celebrating the things that separate us, we can celebrate the things that bring us together.


  1. I'm new to your blog, followed the link from Twitter.

    I love people's stories. My own and those around me is boring, because it's what I know, but if you tell me the every day life of a farmer, or a tattoo artist, I'm riveted. That is one of the things that I've loved about blogging. I've made friends with people I would likely never get to know in real life, because our paths would not cross, or we are so very different. But through blogging, I've found how we are similar.

    I love your thoughts on the odds of people meeting. Sometimes when I'm walking in a crowd, I'll look at someone and wonder if they'll be in my life someday, but here I am walking by them in a crowd. Fascinating.

  2. I agree with everything you said. It's all utterly amazing, and I thank you for taking the time to both read and comment on my little slice of the intertubes. I cannot wait for further conversations with you, as you seem pretty capable of keeping an open mind.