Was it a car or a cat I saw?
I could not be certain what I saw or heard as I walked through Oslo Airport. This is a place where words and sounds had fleeting meanings as I passed through empty space in terminal corridors.
She whispered in my ears. There was no left ear or right ear whisper. The whisper came from both sides into my ears. What did she say to me? The words were lost in translation, even though they sounded like English words to my ears.
I was in Oslo Airport, walking to my gate for a plane connection to Arctic Norway as she whispered in my ears. There was her voice and gone again in a fleeting moment. I paused, looked around in my sleepy daze for the female face attached to the voice I heard. There were women all around, but none beside me. I was standing alone in the airport terminal, away from other people walking to their gates waiting for planes to take them somewhere else in Norway, away from Oslo.
So many encounters in travel are transitory, yet those moments are often the ones that remain vividly in memory after a long time gone.
Whispering sweet nothings in Oslo.
As I read the Scandinavian Traveler magazine on the plane, two young female students seated in the row beside me read college texts. I put on my glasses and read introductory descriptions of cellular biology from the textbook of my seatmate. The words were familiar to me from my undergraduate studies in molecular biology, but the meaning was so far gone in my past.
Reading several pages of cellular biology college text made me reminisce on how I evolved over the years. I thought about meeting Seth Miller, Wandering Aramean, a few years ago. While drinking margaritas, after I mentioned graduating with a fermentation science degree, he asked me the chemical formula for ethanol. My mind was blank. I had not thought about chemical formulas in more than 20 years. My educational interests had evolved over the decades. My brain had devolved in some ways.
I remember and I forget. I believe that is the nature of most humans. We have a finite capacity for collecting, understanding and remembering knowledge. I have been fortunate to have spent time around several genius minds. In my opinion, the attribute of geniuses that distinguishes them from the rest of us, is their ability to learn, categorize and quickly recall what they have learned. The rest of us have a tendency to learn, remember, forget, remember and forget again, over and over, throughout our lives.
Does being smart make you happier or just smarter than others?
I picked up three newspapers before boarding my British Airways flight this morning at London Heathrow for Bergen, Norway. There was a story about a British university student in veterinary medicine who hanged herself over a relationship hangup. She also played women’s rugby. Most of the academic geniuses I have known were not as proficient at comprehending social relationships as you might think for an extremely intelligent person.
I like word games and math puzzles and the Mensa quizzes in airline flight magazines.
I played the American Airlines magazine quiz last week and I was stumped in finding the fourth common English word you can make out of seven letters. I quickly figured out gallery, regally, allergy. After several minutes, my fermentation science brain came up with lagerly, as in I am writing rather lagerly at the moment sitting in this hotel room beside an open window with the arctic air blowing in on a crisp autumn night in Harstad, Norway, while drinking my fourth Kronenbourg 1664 lager beer. Lagerly is not a Scrabble word.
I gave up on figuring out the fourth word and looked on the next page in the American Airlines flight magazine to see the word I missed was ‘largely’. So plain to see, yet my mind was oblivious to the random order of things.
On my overnight flight from San Francisco to London on British Airways two days ago, I had one of the best sleeps on an airplane in years. I crashed out about 90 minutes into the 9.5 hour flight. I was overjoyed when I woke up and turned on the IFE monitor to see there were only four hours remaining to London. The cute blonde German girl leaning on me as she slept was kind of exciting too. My eyes were wide open upon landing in London.
Travel is exciting and mysterious. I think the wonder of exposure to new and unexpected encounters is what has kept me from being able to sleep more than three to five hours at a time for most of the past two weeks. There is so much information to process through momentary encounters.
Comprehending experiences and categorizing them mentally is a demanding task. The alterations travel imposes on the mental construct we use to organize our lives is the life lesson learned. Travel is the fast track to awareness and connectedness in a global society.
In simpler lives, the scenery seen during travel is pretty cool too!