Life's stagehands

December 10th, 2013, 3pm

It was 1°C with few clouds. The breeze was gentle.

We live in a world where just about anyone can take center-stage at any time.

You don’t even have to plan for it, sometimes; upload the wrong (right?) photo, and boom, you could become a meme overnight. Or a celebrity (cewebrity?). Or a hated Reddit villain.

That’s the perception, anyway. My perception. As a 28-year-old First Worlder, the planet seems like an interconnected tangle of strings, each strand connected to all the others. With the right motivation and a little bit of luck (or clever Googling), you can achieve anything. ANYTHING.

But there are plenty of people in the world who don’t jive with that worldview. People for whom ‘work’ means working with your hands, and for whom ‘everyone in the world’ means those within a realistic walking or mass transit radius. It’s the 21st century, yes, but not all perspectives have been widened by the last 100 years of technological advancement equally. Not all lives have been positively impacted by the increasingly thick cables of interconnected strings covering the planet; a blue marble transforming into a digital ball of yarn.

What of those people who, even stretching far as they can, still aren’t able to reach the nearest string? Or those who can’t figure out what to do with it once they have it in hand?

The world must be a mysterious place for such people; those who haven’t hitched their wagons to the fastest-moving pony, and for whom the speed of development must look like nothing so much as a colorful blur, startling to those calmly walking nearby as it is exciting to those of us who are carried with it; those of us who were born on vehicles moving at great speeds, and for whom anything slower often seems plodding and backwards by comparison.

Like anyone, these people are the stars of their own lives. They certainly fall prey to the same ‘Personal Fable Syndrome’ the rest of us endure, and live lives just as sometimes-happy, sometimes-sad, usually-somewhere-in-between as us. The only difference is from where they’re watching the larger, interconnected course of global events. They build the world we live in, maintain it, and yes, even live in it. We’re at the same restaurants and bars. We stand and wait and glance impatiently at the clock at the same train stations.

But they stand aside while we blaze forward; some by design, and some despite all their efforts to hop aboard.

I can’t help but wonder — if we were to decide to meet in the middle — if we, or they, should make the greater effort to bend.

David Wade and Cassie said thanks.

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Colin Wright

Author, entrepreneur, and full-time traveler / I move to a new country every four months based on the votes of my readers / My work ( / My blog ( / My publishing company (

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