Yesterday after a lap swim at the local pool, I went to Walmart for the first time in a very long time. I try to avoid shopping there for reasons I haven't really internalized yet. I just know that I like the idea of going local. Due to my recent finances, I really needed to save that extra couple of bucks on household cleaning supplies and pet food, so I made trip. The funny thing is that this trip to Walmart was almost a multicultural immersion for me. I thought I was in for a trip to a small town America superstore, but if you go to the store on 82nd in SE Portland you will see a virtual melting pot of various ethnicities. I heard at least 7 different languages on my trip. I also had the pleasure of sitting next to a group of adults with disabilities, likely cerebral palsy. I ate my soft pretzel with mustard (I was starving after swimming) and observed the warmest interactions between the caregivers and these particular individuals. It was a weird moment for me. I work with people with disabilities daily, yet in the Walmart it reminded me of how unfair the real world can be. As I chewed on my pretzel I continued to people watch. People of all shapes and sizes entered the Walmart, all with a mission and many with several kids. I was feeling especially curious and wondered what each person's story was as they walked past me. I saw several obese people, some people with many tattoos and leathered skin, and one woman who appeared to have an active addiction to meth. As I finished my pretzel, it occurred to me that the enormity of pain that people experience is at times overwhelming.
Stick with me here.....
After having this thought, I recalled the end of a movie I had watched earlier in the week.... War of the Worlds. (if you haven't seen this movie, I ignore the following babble) Is it just me or are there other people who are equally freaked out when they really let themselves think about life outside of our planet? I'm not talking about religious stuff, I'm talking about life in our universe. Okay, I know I'm getting a little outside of myself now, but I had this connection between life in the universe and our vulnerabilities as humans. We feel emotion and pain.... that is what makes us human. Do we as a collective group have the ability to know and digest the idea that other lifeforms exist in our universe? I went on to think about how discomforting it can be to think about our safe world being in jeopardy or even being a smaller part of something much larger, which I suspect we are. But our brains are not hardwired to think that way all the time. We have so much to swallow with our own adversities here on our planet. War... illness... death.. grief... I don't really have a special thought here, just that as I sat there eating my pretzel, I was reminded of how resilient humans are. I thought about the movie because in my mind, in order to live day to day with the knowledge of extraterrestrial life, we might become desensitized to human emotion.... emotion that ranges from from pain and grief to laughter or cooing over a baby's adorable face. I like being an emotive being... I'm going to stick with it. It will be especially easy since my friends are all having babies. YAY FRIENDS!!!!
Enough random thoughts for now.... I think I will pick up these thoughts again when I'm swimming in Lake Washington next Sunday.