Consider this thought I had: I am alive and free to do just about anything — anything — I want, but I’m not. Rather, I’m stuck on a course molded by years of habit, reinforced by the smallness of my imagination and what I deem possible or impossible.
This thought came to me last week as I was making my way back from work, hitting me like a male elephant in heat – hard, unexpected, and totally beyond my control – in the most unlikely of places: under a block of flats so devoid of life and energy it reminded me the dreamscape from Tarkovsky’s Stalker.
I remember stopping in mid-step and glancing over to my right across the carpark where a woman was carrying a bag of groceries. For some reason or another, I realised I had the option to walk across to her and strike up a conversation, walk by her, knock her, ignore her. Unsure about the origins or reasons behind those thoughts, I ignored them and went on my way, but before I knew it, I came across an old-ish man going through some books with a young-ish man, and similar thoughts popped into my head: I could actually interact with these people, so why do I insist on limiting my life to those who are already in it? Why?
Just for the heck of it, I deviated from the path I had been using for the past year… highly interactive digital worlds in games can draw great acclaim from critics, but you’d never get one as interactive as the real world. And this deviated step I took, as small an action as it was, it’s significance wasn’t lost on me. I had created a new path from out of thin air.
You wouldn’t believe how much at that time I thought about how possible it was that I’d leave a huge positive impact on this world. I still do.