Tuesday, March 3, 2015

The Fly on the Wall

WARNING: This post is maybe 2% amusing and negative % relevant to New Zealand so do with that what you will.

I'll shamelessly admit I'm one of (hopefully) many people who walk around with headphones in during a majority of my public endeavors (ex/ walking to class, grocery shopping, etc.).  In my opinion, they’re like a physical “Do Not Disturb” sign you can politely place at your doorstep to the world. 

But also, you can turn them off and grant yourself the power of being a “fly on the wall.”

In case people have different perceptions of what it means to be a fly on the wall, let me explain the one I’m referring to.  To be a fly on the wall gives you a cloak of invisibility.  Think of Harry Potter’s cloak of invisibility.  He could snoop around Hogwarts and get the latest and greatest dirt on the world of witchcraft and wizardry without any awareness of his presence. 

The Harry-Potter-Emily Fly on the Wall
Now back to the muggle world…  the “cloak of invisibility” provided by headphones obviously isn’t as effective as Harry Potter’s. 

The only power they provide you with is the outside world’s assumption that you’re doing exactly what you are meant to be doing with them which is of course, listening to music. But what stranger is going to rip them out of your ears to see if you’re actually listening to music… when you’re instead sort of eavesdropping?

Finding random gardens and climbing up trees is a habit New Zealand has lead me to fall back into (one that I abandoned in probably middle school).  But here I was at the age of 20, sitting in a random tree in a random garden listening to random people with music-less headphones and having much more fun with it than I should have been.  In my mind, I was a fly on the wall, tuning in to my surroundings behind a one-way mirror.  And masked behind this invisibility, I could smile at every cool breeze and ray of sunshine without the passing public contemplating whether or not I was on drugs (and for the record no I was not). 

My miraculous view from my tree
Maybe this is creepy.  But maybe (more like probably) I don’t give a hoot. 

So my “one-way mirror” led to some strange, semi-sensible thoughts…

This feeling of invisibility instigated a feeling of power in me. I suppose this powerful-like feeling was derived from being able to tune into the lives of random strangers while remaining completely unnoticed by them.  I had complete control over my interaction with my surroundings, and a hall pass to nosily observe and listen to everything around me. 

Being invisible also grew a warm understanding for the immediate world below me.  I witnessed the frustration of the kid trying to kick a soccer ball into the goal, and shared his enthusiasm when he succeeded.  I giggled at the little girl jumping off a picnic table to her dad’s displeasure, but felt for the dad’s concern for his little girl’s safety.  While nosily peeking into these random strangers’ lives, I developed a sort of empathy for them. 

Now heading in a new direction with my semi-semi-sensible thoughts… (the fact that I continue to make up my own words probably doesn’t lend to my credibility much)

Think about just how much having a visible presence changes things.  People become filtered (well, usually).  The world recognizes your existence.  And that can alter a lot.   

I remember my art professor suggesting how much more beneficial his shows would be if he could watch peoples' reactions to his work behind some shield of invisibility.  I’d love to be a fly on the wall during presentations of my own work, and witness peoples' unfiltered reactions to it.  Or peek behind someone’s laptop screen while reading this crazy, semi-sensible blog.  Like if Harry Potter’s cloak of invisibility was something you could rent out for the day I would put that to excellent use.

So the power of becoming the fly on the wall… maybe not the best or most action-packed power out there.  But think about it, it’s gotta be one of the more fascinating and amusing powers one could have. 

And to think this is the conclusion I came to by fake using my headphones today….

Rant adjourned.

P.S. In less than 48 hours I will be en route to Kaikoura which is a wonderful land of whale watching, mountain climbing, and cave exploring so my next post WILL actually be relevant to New Zealand… aka the assumed topic of this blog.  Maybe I’m fake using it just like my headphones O_o… 

Keep Happy,

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