Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Comfort Zones

Yesterday, on the train, I was accosted by a lank-haired aging rocker type who insisted on trying to convince me of the benefits of pot-smoking.

Yeah, my mind does not understand this either.

Now, I don't normally talk to random strangers. I don't normally talk to aging rockers either, especially not on trains where all the other random strangers can sit and listen to your random strangeness. But he started it.

Me: *scribbling frantically on theory homework*
Aging rocker: "Sooooooo! What instrument do you play?"
Me: (Nosy, much?) "Ummmm... piano?" (Because whenever I say organ or recorder, people become immensely befuddled.)
Aging rocker: "Oohhhhh, cool man! I used to be in a rock band!"
Me: (Eww, rock) "Cooahl. Do you play guitar?" (He looked like he played guitar. What can I say... Guitarrists just look like that.)
Aging rocker: "Nah, I carried things."
Me: "You- carried things."
Aging rocker: "Reeeeeeeeally important things. I was almost as famous as the musicians. Everyone knew me."
Me: "Oh. Well, how lovely for you."
Aging rocker: "Shyeaaah..."

And then he went on to tell me how smoking bans are destroying communication between humans, and how some hippie concert a thousand years ago was really swell. Or something.

At first I was kind of annoyed. I had homework to do. He was a lank-haired aging rocker type. These things annoy me. However! I made a conscious effort to be nice. Step out of my comfort zone and all that.

Broaden your horizons, boah, broaden your horizons. You won't always be surrounded by spoiled-brat music students with good vocabulary, vast trust funds, and socialist ideals.

So I did! And we talked. And at the end of the line, when the train pulled into Zürich, we wished each other a good day and wandered off into our very different little lives. I don't think I'll be taking up pot-smoking any time soon. I don't think I'll become a cigarette lobbyist, go to hippie concerts, or do stake-outs on sidewalks with my camp chair with my herd of mournful, malnourished dogs. But I in the end I was happy to have talked to him. I learned all sorts of interesting things. I learned that aging rocker types are rather sad, lonely little people with nothing to do but look back on their glorious youth. I learned that they have yet to discover the use of shampoo. And I learned that they carry packets of illegal substances on them like regular people carry wallets or phones or keys.

So how's that for massive snarky generalisation. Really though, I might do it again. Talk to druggy, disheveled strangers. And even if I don't, I now feel totally qualified to write a lengthy tragedy about aging rockers.