Book - The Book Thief - Markus Zusak
Photo - Lewis Shaw
People often ask me - normally after I've spilled an anarchic anecdote over the floor over the conversation -
"Lewis, how do all these things happen to you?"
Anybody who knows me well or has read this blog end-to-end will know that I have a habit of ending up in strange situations - whether it's driving a 7-ton truck down a Dutch highway or dancing half naked in fascist African Kingdoms, I can't seem to keep myself away from the bizarre occurrences that make up my time on Earth. It can be both a good and bad habit to keep, but as a sideline for jaw-dropping anecdotes, my adventures are definitely a plus.
But for all the people who ask the aforementioned question, there is much jealousy, confusion, and bewilderment. It is for those people that this particular post is for.
A simple answer is that 'How do all these things happen to you?' is a question wrongly put. Although I will accept that amongst countless variables there is an element of luck - these things don't happen to me - I bring them upon myself. However - here are a few pointers on how to have yourself some of these delectable adventures.
1 - Since around the age of nine, I've had an utter fascination with the Latin phrase 'Carpe Diem' - 'Seize the Moment/Day'. You may just think of it as the horribly middle-class obsession of a growing child, but the thing is that those two words have taken a hold on my consciousness, and taken me more places than anything else. Say 'Yes' to as much as you can - interesting places are almost always the places just outside of your comfort zone - and by comfort zone I am also referring to your living room couch. You will have to leave the house, sweetheart.
2 - As I sit on buses, trains, park benches and other public domains, I hear an awful word of... ooh, what's the word. Oh yes, stupid people. A lot of these people also happen to be students, students who go to my college - which brings with it a valid point. Doing well in all your classes and getting top grades in every subject does not, by any means, make you clever. Common sense cannot be taught in a classroom, just by getting outside. I'm not entirely sure what this point amounts to, without having to phrase it like this - don't be stupid, stupid.
3 - Earlier today I was told that I am very critical of people. Thanks, Josie. Despite my obvious bitchy response to this comment, there is a clear element of truth in it, and for a good reason. I'm an incredible bitch, and very honest to those whom I do not admire (Of which there are many) - this simply being my defense mechanism. Surround yourself with good people, and when the smell of adventure lingers beneath your world-weary nostrils, grab these people and take them with you.
4 - I'd be lying if I told you that there was no element of story-telling ability that goes with the recounts of adventures. A helpful hint: these adventures are made re-tellable by the focus upon minor bizarre details. When you're sat at that dirty bus stop in Trafford, look to the French accountant on your right and say 'I told you that Pot Noodle was a bad idea'. It's a normal enough situation, until you mention obscure tidbits of information.
This morning I got incredibly tired of lounging around indoors and drinking coffee. I looked at the walls holding me in, and I looked at the assorted distractions to keep me there. I grabbed my bus pass, and ran. I pondered all of this as I sat alone next to Fleet Pond (A pond that is definitely of lake-ish proportions).
I asked myself - what is an adventure anyway? Must we go on intergalactic travels to places we can't pronounce, with strangely attributed amigos, and attempt the impossible? I settled on anywhere out. Out of the ordinary, out of the schedule, out of your comfort zone, out of the house. I absorbed the good weather, the moment I had seized. I opened my book, and faced the first words of the chapter - 'Time for a change of scene'.
'Yeah. That'd be good.' I thought, following the wise words of this book written by a man I'd never met. As Is sat, I thought more and more about this change of scene. Plans were made, people called. Maybe not today, and probably tomorrow, but one day - more adventures will be had. It is written.