The other day when I was coming home the road to my house was blocked by a multitude of fire trucks. I was confused and wondered why all these fire trucks were here. Something truly terrible must have happened for the city to empty its coffers of emergency vehicles. The end result of all this was I had to turn around and go another way.
I called my wife to see if she knew what this tragedy was because certainly a house was on fire or something else was terribly wrong for that many fire trucks to be out. As I proceeded to the alternate entrance to our street my wife told me she had no idea what was going on. I told her she should because the other end of our street was blocked as well. She asked what I was talking about and why I drove past our house without stopping. I then realized I had not recognized our house at all and had indeed driven right past it. For the second time that night I had to back up and turn around on our street.
It is funny how small a change can completely alter our perspective. Here I was driving a different way on a street and I didn’t recognize our home. Tonight I decided to take a sip of gin before putting in the tonic water and the experience was so much different. So much better. I got all the underlying flavor notes of the gin. I could taste every botanical and how they played together to give it a mild herbal aftertaste that reminded me of rosemary but must be the meadowsweet. It makes me want to have that gin in a G&T while eating a steak slathered in a rosemary cheddar sauce. I feel that would heighten things even more.
Our perspectives are such easily malleable things that so few people are willing to alter. Think about how many people cling tightly to their beliefs and how they refuse to see the world from anyone else’s perspective. When live in a world of people that believe they are the main character never realizing that this isn’t a character driven story but a setting driven series. The characters come and go but the setting remains the same.
We need to change our perspective. We need to view the world through other people’s eyes. It is why the reading of fiction is so important. The book I am listening to now, The Guest List by Lucy Foley, helped me to understand a Yeats line I love but struggle with. One character was talking about another that was a former love interest and one time lover. The embraced and her internal monologue was satisfied that the love was right where she left it. Right where she left it in the foul rag and bone shop of the heart my mind finished.
I don’t have any former lovers I am still in contact with. I don’t have any want our need to visit that portion of my heart. I have no need to return to where all ladders start because I haven’t lost my ladder. If I could go back and live my life all over again I would make certain to be where I needed to be when I needed to be to meet my wife. I do not understand the feeling Yeats is describing on a personal level, but I can understand it when I change my perspective and view it from someone else’s perspective. This time a character in a novel.
It is like the G&T tonight. I nipped a bit of the gin raw and the flavors lingered on my palette while I drank the G&T. It changed the experience completely and all it took was one small and subtle shift in my own behavior. Like driving down my street the opposite way and not knowing where my house it. Small changes are all it takes to alter our viewpoint and completely shift our reality. Understanding the world is easy if we first try and understand each other.