People are the Meaning of Life, Part 3

I’ve always tried to imagine what it would be like to spend all day at an amusement park and not have to wait in line. Not because I got to pass everyone to the front, but because there were no other people there other than the people I came with.

And with all the annoying traffic I have to deal with everyday as I drive through Nashville, I’ve thought about what it would be like to be the only one on the road.

And when I go to Starbucks to read everyday on my lunch break to read, would I be able to truly escape if there were not the roaring mumbles of everyone else there?

Our lives are filled with people who mean a whole lot to us; those are the ones that make up the main cast of characters.

But there are also the extras, the people with no names or stories. Just the muddled cardboard images of characters that serve as background noise and decoration. They keep our lives from being a ghost town.

Of course it works both ways: I’m just another wallflower to them as well. I serve no obvious importance or benefit. But if they are People Watchers like I am, maybe as they wait in line near me to get coffee they try to figure out my story.

What could these strangers tell about me as they take a look at my 10 year-old battered Birkenstocks? When they hear me order my coffee, does my voice match me the way they had envisioned it? Do they think I’m weird for ordering a solo shot of espresso over ice instead of a blissful $4 milkshake of a coffee?

But a few minutes later, we’re no longer standing in line together. They leave and drive away. Most likely, I won’t cross their mind again. I simply gave them something to subconsciously think about as they waited in line. They were entertained by me without me ever even looking them in the eyes or speaking a word to them. I am an extra, just as they were to me.

Even the extras add to the meaning of life.