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Wednesday, July 15, 2009


Whether we consider ourselves introverts, extroverts, or something in between; I believe that relating to other people is part of the human existence. Activities and hobbies can be instant "portal" to interacting with someone in a meaningful way. I think of horses and music as a universal "language" and I think that they, more than any other hobby, are extremely powerful "portals".

I have two examples:

Example 1: On my June trip to Alabama I was in the Phoenix airport, waiting to board the plane to Birmingham. A women spied my XP sweatshirt and I spied her Tipperary helmet fastened to her carry on. In the 10 minutes it took to board the plan, we knew what brand of saddles we each rode, our horse sports (past and present), breed of horse, future competition plans, other other *important* details. My manager, travelling with me, looked on with shock and amazement. I probably know more about that women than my co-workers that I have worked with for the last 3 years. Horses were an instant, powerful portal into each of our lives.

Example 2: I was practicing my fiddle outside the hotel last night (yes, I'm in Alabama again this week), when I guy ran up and asked if I minded him joining in on the harmonica and jamming with me a bit. After 15 minutes or so of jamming, he put them away, thanking me profusely for the "tremendous blessing" he received of being allowed to play for me. Driving away, he stopped by again and thanked me, saying that he doesn't get to play with others often, but the session had given him confidence that he could jam with others. Again, an instant, powerful connection to another person. Not as much personal information was shared, but playing music is another, very personal, way to share your life with someone.

Thought of the Day
So how about you? Has a hobby, endurance or otherwise, given you an unique opportunity to bond with someone "just passing through"? I've noticed that some of my hobbies such as running, don't give me the same *connection* as horses and music do. Maybe it goes as far as exchanging PR times, number of marathons, or discussing the possibility of an ultra.

What happens to a person that doesn't have a *portal* like horses or music to relate to other people in a meaningful way? Or does everyone find something unique that bonds them to other people? Is that why (getting political here) people get into self-destructive behaviors like illegal drugs, inappropriate sex (insert your definition is here), etc.? To try and relate in a meaningful, powerful way?


  1. Wow Mely...this was a great post!
    I love your little stories, I have little incidents like that as well. I really think you're right about portals and connecting with people. I've thought about it too, but never put it to words as nicely as you have :)

  2. For me, horses are the portal that allow me to hang out with kids...and more importantly, for kids to hang out with responsible adults who are not family members.

    I can't count the number of juniors I've sponsored at rides--and as you say, by the end of the ride I know more *important stuff* about these kids than most of their peers probably know.

    Also, by the end of the ride, the kids have added me to their lives permanently. Some of "my kids" are now married with kids of their own, but we scurry off together whenever we meet, eager to catch up on all the news (horsey and non-horsey).

    Just wouldn't work the same if we were all crazy about, I dunno, knitting or something.

  3. Redgirl - since I know you aren't into horses, what is your portal?

  4. Well Mel, I'm glad you asked!
    One thing is "people watching" as I like to call it. There are a lot of people who do it and we all like to discuss the antics. Talking about music is great, as well as writing and camping. I suppose what I do is mostly identify interesting people around me, and then find some way to intereact with them. I'm very adaptable. People that know me well say that I "can talk to anybody" and it's true...I test it sometimes :P

  5. Hi Mel- I really enjoyed this post, one of your best by far. I have absolutely had expereinces like this, mostly because of the horse hobby. Often times, it saddens me because I know these brief connections are only glimmers and I will likely never see or talk to that person again.

  6. Thank you for your kind words Jonna.

    Interestingly (is that even a word???) it makes me so happy when I meet people for those brief encounters. I feel like I really struggle to relate to people and that feeling of connecting to part of the human race so naturally and easily is so satifying. It's nice not to have the pressure of ever seeing that person again. I feel like I can be more real and be myself better.

  7. I totally do the "portal" thing. For me I generally connect with people because of a shared love of history, running, backpacking, climbing, and reading. A random interaction makes my day. :)


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