Pinball Wizard

This a blog not a travelogue so from time to time I get to run off into some pretty esoteric areas. Today is one of those days.

This morning during the buffet breakfast at the hotel I am in I ran into and spent hours talking to a Anthropology Professor from an (I shall not name) Southern California University. He spends his research time living with indigenous Filipino Families on a small island (also I shall not name).  He spends months at a time recording on his trusty laptop all of their daily actions, stories and the complexity of the lives of extremely poor people in a virtually closed environment. As I listened to some of his stories I was amazed at some things I heard and learned about a country I have visited 14 times since 1994.

He is a skilled observer, a published author and in general a very interesting fellow. As I was doing my morning walk (trying to keep from getting fatter and more crippled) I reflected on his success and determination vs my 23 jobs in 22 cities and for a few minutes started to look down upon myself. My life has been similar to that steel ball in a pinball machine. Smashing about seemingly aimlessly causing all sorts of mayhem along the way. Certainly there are paths I might have trod much differently, however, I am the one who is most fortunate. I am no pinball wizard but my path has gifted me with doctors, lawyers and the salt of the earth. I have more friends than many people have acquaintances and I have learned from all of them.  I have Good friends that are high school dropouts and a few that are arguably “over educated”.

One of my best friends is an Indian, a REAL native American, and three Mexicans whose families were here before my home state was a state. I have close friends that were in the military and one that was part of the group that burned the draft cards in DC during Vietnam.  I may be the luckiest person in the world to have met these wonderful people and it never would have happened but for my incomprehensible bouncing around the country. Now as I travel around other countries I am meeting more people and learning more about more things.

So why this diatribe? Because I was foolish enough to waste even a little bit of time on overlooking all the blessings I have called friends and the route I have taken to acquire them. In reality and particularly at my age friends are all that really matter.

So, if you can travel (even in your 70’s) I highly recommend it and if you can’t then when you are standing in line at Starbucks or the grocery store, start talking to people around you. Some will be arseholes, ignore them, and concentrate on the nuggets like the Professor I met this morning or the Surgeon from Hong Kong I met a few years ago in a bar or the the truck driver I met from the Northwest Territories in Canada or…. You get the idea.

Bon Voyage




About asiadiver

Love to travel, love southeast Asia and the people and cultures (and food) SCUBA is a passion but more difficult as I get older so photography and writing have become most important. I have learned more talking with other travelers in local bars in Hong Kong or Bangkok or sharing a tuk tuk than I did in all my years in university. Not a man of the world but an average Joe just being observant, polite and listening.
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