listening

The Lady With The Crash Helmet

On a recent trip back from the States, I realised I had uncovered one of the best conversation starters on an aeroplane or in an airport. Carry a hard hat on top of your hand luggage.

Trust me, it works a treat!  Especially if you are a Muslim chick…

I didn’t quite fit the above stereotype…perhaps fortunately?

I think about 4 people asked me straight out: “So why are you carrying a crash helmet on to this plane?  What do you think is gonna happen?”.

It took all my self control not to crack an awful joke every single time; I am not sure if they would have appreciated my dark sense of humour in this particular situation.

A few others were just curious: “What’s a girl like you doing with steel caps and a hard hat?”

“Oh well, I work on the field…”

Quite a number of interesting conversations followed, and to be honest, one can sometimes forget how interesting the people on the plane can be!

I ended up meeting all sorts of people; some who work in the motorsport industry, some guy who works as a professional tree climbing equipment supplier (and got there in the most random fashion…) and another guy who used to work on oil rigs in the same area, in the 1980’s!

That was kinda a cool one.  He had a few stories, a couple of permanently crooked fingers and a life story which he prefaced with: “All we wore were steel caps and shorts…”

Ah, OH&S has moved on a bit since then.

It was a nice reminder in general though, that instead of walking around airports with headphones in my poor abused eardrums and a “don’t talk to me” look on my face as I struggle through jetlag while carrying too many pieces of hand luggage as per usual…I should take more notice of the people around me on a more regular basis.

You never know who might be sitting next to you…and the stories they might have.

***

Something occurred to me today.

Faces I sometimes forget, names I often do if I don’t write them down or spell them out.

Stories however… they sustain me.

Stories are the colour to the tapestry of life; the details are the richness of the pigment, the texture, the intricacies to something bigger than ourselves.

Stories are what make people people, and everyone has their own story that is worth listening to. 

Isn’t is a basic human desire to have our story be heard?  Perhaps not by everyone, but at least someone.  Perhaps…you.