Today, while I was walking home from work, an ambulance sped down the street I was on. Naturally, they were in an awful hurry. I got to wondering: what was wrong with the patient inside? Would they be okay? Did I just come within ten feet of someone who is about to die?
The ambulance passed. I looked around. Crowded street though it was, there was not a soul who’d paid any particular attention to the ambulance. And why should they? We see them everyday.
The fact of the matter is: people care more about what’s going on in their own heads, and on their cell phones than they do about the world around them. Myself included.
I live in New York. I see an ambulance zooming from Point A to Point B almost every day. The number of times that I must’ve been a short distance away from somebody in real trouble, (and not given them any mind at all) – it has to be in the thousands.
That’s the world we live in.
It’s not that we’re all bad people. It’s that we simply don’t pay any attention.
Now it is a documented scientifically proven fact that Friendship = Magic. There are equations for it and everything.
However, I’ve been thinking. What is friendship but the bond between people (or ponies)? Magic, Laughter, Kindness. All that jazz. That which makes up the bonds that hold us together. That’s what give our lives potency and meaning – that devotion we have for the people we care about.
The problem is that while we are capable of being good friends to one another, and all around good people, at the same time, it’s very easy to be a lousy stranger. Why not apply pony logic to everyone we encounter? The Magic of Friendship is the bond between two tight-knit individuals, but everybody we encounter in life, even briefly, we have some connection to. So treat them like friends.
The way I see it, we all impact one another’s lives in some slight way. It’s like gravity. The most powerful gravity we ever notice is the force that massive and nearby objects (like the Earth) exert on us. The most powerful magic we ever feel is the friendship in our hearts – our affection for our loved ones – the people who occupy massive spaces in our lives.
However, a single breadcrumb on the bottom of your toaster is also exerting gravitational force on a helium atom burning in a star trillions of miles away. It’s just too small to detect. That’s how it is with strangers.
We touch so many lives with our actions and seldom even notice because the consequences and outcomes are too slight and too far away, but the fact of the matter is: we are all shaped by our experiences. They make us who we are. Those experiences are shaped by the people who were actually there, even if, at the time, they seemed to us to be like background ponies.
Why not make it a point to reach out to a stranger? ”Nice Pink Floyd shirt. What’s your favorite album?”
You may even succeed in that most sacred mission that Celestia sent Twilight Sparkle on back in the very first episode: making friends.
“I’ll have two sesame seed bagels with cream cheese to go, please…And how you doing? How late they making you stay here tonight?”
So many people don’t bother to take an interest in, or even talk to the people who serve them. A trip to the store is an opportunity to brighten someone’s work day.
This magic we feel in our hearts when we are closest to our friends – this gravity: it comes in smaller doses too.
I’m not saying we should burst into tears every time an ambulance goes by, or grant random folks (who may be jerks) the same trust that we hold for our closest friends, but the more you engage in the actual world around you – the more time you take to connect with the people whose paths you cross, the more alive you will feel.
Friendship is, without a doubt, magic, but who says the magic has to stop there?
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