Hello from a nine-hour layover in Atlanta. How you doin’? Splendid!!! There are few places as overwhelming as an international airport. People running from gate to gate, employees calming angry guests, parents calming angry children and hundreds if not thousands of other people talking, running, eating and living life in their own busy and complex universes. It’s a people watchers dream.
I myself being a people watcher find it easy to pass the time between layovers observing the innumerable and diverse faces pass me hour after hour. I think about how they live a life I will never know, meeting people I will never meet, doing things I may never do. It blows my reality to pieces to think about just how unique, sacred and intimate every life in this world is and how sometimes it’s a shame that I will only ever get to live and experience just my own.
A single question hits me every time. "Vinny!!! How important are you really?" In a sea of a billion universes, sharing one collective reality, how important are you really? In my mind this question always summons a flood of existential inquiry that, without fail, typically ends with me awkwardly realizing I’ve been accidentally staring at someone in front me for about 10 minutes.
Today I found myself staring at Michelle. She is an older woman with thick-rimmed glasses and a striking boldness who shook me out of my existential adventure with a simple question, “are you a musician?” I realized she was pointing to the guitar I had brought with me. I respectfully answered yes and then for the next hour somehow she, I and this awesome older jazz enthusiast named Chisolm talked about Broadway musicals, the growth of Jazz music and how important the arts are for the creation of balanced life.
We shared story after story while we laughed and relived awesome moments from our own individual adventure. Then it hit me. We were connected. Different universes meeting, different stories connecting, different lives becoming one even if just for a brief moment. I had gotten an answer to my question. How important am I really? We all are.