I guess being on the road can be a harrowing experience if one lets it. For me, the 24 hours travelling time I clocked yesterday weaved by easily. It is amazing what the loneliness and solitary mood escorting me at the outset can be a rousing force to put a ceasefire to my lonesomeness. I met about three to four different characters throughout my journey - people whom I never would have thought I would know in my life.
On my first leg of the journey, I sat beside a couple who was returning to Sweden. We warmed up to each other almost as soon as I took my seat. We mostly talked about vacation spots particularly in Bali and they kept mentioning how beautiful and nice KL was. They briefly visited KL just a few days ago and wanted to return for a longer trip next year and asked me for some recommendations. I broached the subject of visiting Sabah and they were convinced, I hope they see it through. We even shared a common interest for skiing and I now know the spots to go to if I ever visit Sweden. These were very polite, humble and nice people. They asked about my job and purpose to New York, I even found out their first grandchild was born a week earlier and they can't wait to see him. They even shared a little about their marriage - marrying at the age of 20! When we parted at Arlander, it was with a sense of apparent friendship. They kept on reminding me how beautiful KL is, and how great and friendly its people are.
I met another interesting character on my way from Stockholm to Newark. Here was a lady who just got married a couple of weeks back and was missing her husband so, so badly even though he was just 20 rows behind us. I found out that she manages 3 local rockbands in Sweden and her husband discovered the 3 bands and also co-managed them with her. She is more on the administrative side and her husband more to the talent discovery and song production side. She let me hear some of the songs they produced and although I do not understand most of the words, the tune was very nice. I liked it very much. They were going to Brooklyn to visit the husband's family after their marriage and we talked a little about meeting the right person of your life and doing the things you love with the person you love - there can be no greater joy, or at least one of life's greatest joys. And these two were hardcore rockers that came complete with the tattoo and piercing package. They were dating for 17 years before tying the knot.
The final character was by far the most interesting. I met him at the arrival in Newark airport. He was my driver. During the trip to the hotel, we began our conversation with the usuals - weather, journey, time, vacation spots and the likes. Eventually I learned more about him. This chap was formerly in the army and was an army detective during the Vietnam wars. He was stationed there for 2 years and completed his tour of duty in '68 just before the US pulled their troops out of there in '69. He then enlisted in the police force and then became a detective in the NJPD. This career of his lasted 27 long years and he has been to many parts of the world and seen many things. He was asked to join the NYPD but declined many times for reasons he only wish to leave it as - he loves life. He spent the next 17 years in semi-retirement as a limousine driver. His grandson is enlisting to become a member of the NYPD and he owns a house in a small island in the Bahamas where the water is only 48 feet from his house. He is divorced, does not speak freely of his wife and children and has strong reservations against the current leader of his country.
I finally arrived safely at New York and realized that meeting these people truly has added to my perspectives in life. But recalling all these people I met along the way and the conversations I had with them - I can't help but see the irony in all that has happened to me or around me the past 24 hours or so. Some people are too refrained in living their lives, some has too many open-ended outcomes, while others use sincerity as a weapon to smother the doubts in their hearts. We are all knowledgeable in our own ways and using it to assist us in the best way to live our daily lives. It is not our job to judge others for what they think, do or feel.
The paradox of an informed society is that over a period of time, it is susceptible to bias towards the same sources that project powerful information.