I was on the train from Warsaw, sitting across from a middle aged man. His hairline was receding and he was reading an article. The article was in Polish, and he was marking it up with a yellow highlighter. I thought he was a little bit strange. I soon fell asleep, listening to City and Colour. When I woke up, I was sitting across from what I presumed to be a college student, probably in his mid 20’s. He seemed pleasant. I wondered when the older man had left, and when this new one had gotten on. I sat, looking out the window. And then the man across from me reached into his bag and pulled out an article. And a yellow highlighter. The same article, and the same yellow highlighter. I looked at the man closer and realized that it was, in fact, the same man.
He hadn’t changed, but somehow my perception of him did. I was truly convinced that a different man was sitting across from me, until his highlighter gave him away. I don’t know how one man could look both middle aged, and in his mid 20’s, but somehow this guy did. What was even more interesting was the way that my opinion of him had changed. Maybe I have some internal bias against middle aged men, or maybe I just felt more comfortable sitting across from someone closer to my age. Either way, my opinion of the man changed from strange to pleasant, though he didn’t change at all.
Challenge #74, March 16, 2011: There are so many things about life that we cannot change–but we are able to change the way we look at something, the way it affects us. Today, try to look at things differently. If there is a person that constantly annoys you—try to see them as endearing. If it is cold outside, think of it as a chance to wear your favorite hat.
P.s…I still don’t know if the man was middle aged or younger. Even once I realized it was the same man, I couldn’t figure it out.