Traveling by plane is not my cup of tea. Each time I have to fly, my body and mind react with reluctance. Despite the fact I am getting more and more used to traveling by plane, I consider it uncomfortable to wait eternally before departing and admitting to having nearly any control. The atmosphere in the departure hall is quite similar to a crowd mourning at a funeral. While the last victim of the consumption society obtains some last luxurious tax-free shopping trash, I am drinking my coffee and waiting for the departure of my flight. I consider catching a flight as a kind of torture mentally and spiritually.
However, let’s for a second not focus on all the discomforts of flying but focus on the opportunities that arise. Next to the fact I can switch off my mind comfortably while enjoying my coffee thoughtlessly, flying can also be valuable by means of the insightful interactions it enables. In the case you fly alone, you automatically get into contact with other individuals during check-in, waiting and flying. Two weeks ago when I flew to the Netherlands, I met a beautiful and interesting Mexican. This time I had a very interesting interaction with a Pakistani taxi driver.
Approximately 5 pm, I finished work and headed out to catch a taxi that could transfer me to the airport. An Arabic looking fellow approached me and asked if I needed a taxi. I did. Our adventure started at that moment.
After dropping my bag in the rear, we headed for the airport. My taxi driver was so kind to offer me to drive a faster toll route for an additional charge. I can appreciate this commercial innate instinct of Arabians. After kindly denying this generous offer of Miher, I immersed myself in the several ‘important’ emails and unread notifications on my mobile phone. I was kind of looking forward to this quiet taxi ride to the airport. I considered it a chance to empty my mind while scrolling through my mobile applications thoughtlessly. However, Miher had other plans.
Miher was listening to a debate. It didn’t sound Irish and I soon noticed he was listening to a political debate in the United States. It regarded a defense plea regarding political acts of Donald Trump. At that moment, I thought to myself, that is kind of unusual audio material for a taxi driver. Anyhow, let’s not judge and keep scrolling through the ‘important’ stuff on my mobile. Miher didn’t agree with this plan again and asked for attention.
“Why don’t they just make a decision? – It isn’t that difficult!” My first thought was that this short-minded taxi driver didn’t had a clue where he was talking about and that he probably thought to have a solution to all problems in the world. I couldn’t be more wrong! O, my God! What happened next amazed me completely.
At first, Miher hadn’t obtained my full attention. Yet! Half of my attention was with the ‘important’ stuff on my mobile, a quarter of my attention was allocated to keeping track of where we were going (to prevent taking the super fast route and pay an unexpected additional charge) and 25% of my attention couldn’t escape the cascade of words coming from Miher’s direction. That fraction of my full attention was sufficient for beginning to understand that Miher wasn’t that ignorant regarding politics and international affairs. Declarations after treaties after pacts were mentioned. Political agenda’s of different countries over time were emphasized to embody Miher’s political lecture. Historical events were deemed to be the base of the geographical, ethnicity and political inequalities and –impediments.
At that moment, I reflected on my prior judgment regarding the knowledge level of Miher. Oops, I clearly found a mare’s nest there. I judged automatically based on incorrect superficial information. I felt ashamed for completely misjudging a person. Soon, I became aware of the richness of the content Miher conveyed to me. My attentions switched regarding the words of Miher from 25% to 100%. I needed that 100% fully. I tried hard to make sense of the intellectual continuing cascade of words of the lecture of Miher.
“So, you seem to be quite knowledgeable about this! Really awesome! Where did you obtain all this knowledge about these matters.” My feeling of being a valuable salesman for New Relic shifted spontaneously to a feeling of being an ignorant F*ck. Luckily, I didn’t have to feel that bad to not be able to participate fully in this discussion. Miher had obtained two masters in international affairs and international politics.
Finally, we arrived at Dublin Airport. Miher dropped me and helped by handing my bag and gave directions to enter the airport. Meanwhile, he was talking about a book that fascinated him. He advised me to read it. He was so passionate about this stuff. I really love it when people talk about their passion. I have ordered the book immediately and will always remember Miher in this way. It is really unbelievable how your perceptions can alter completely of a person, within a taxi ride of 30 minutes.
Once seated at Butler’s Chocolate Coffee House, unconsciously staring at the rapidly advancing mass of people with an Irish flat white in front of me, I was reflecting on this bizarre interaction. Why was Miher a Taxi Driver? Why is the knowledge of such an educated guy wasted driving people from A to B? Why isn’t Miher in politics in Ireland? How does Miher envision using his knowledge to help the world?
Unfortunately, I will never know the answers to these questions. I can merely speculate about this. Anyhow, I have learned today, for the 1000s time, how inaccurate my assumptions can be. So, I will not speculate about the possible outcomes of these questions. Hence, I give Miher the chance to find this blog and send me a reply.
Cheers! And Enjoy the Weekend!