Saturday, November 3, 2012

Delight in Surprise

'Tis the season for giving thanks, and here's another: I love a really good flash mob.

It's like the healthy twin brother of crime shows, because here's the usual plot -- people are going through everyday life in some common, crowded place when something a little different happens, interrupting the usual-business-of-life stuff. It might be a single instrumentalist, a computer error message, a spill, or even just sudden stillness. Folks nearby are usually the first to notice, of course, and the effect spreads as bystanders become aware that the ordinary-looking people around them are not ordinary at all, and the often-faceless mass of the crowd suddenly takes on its humanity again as those who had been preparing for those moments inject surprise and delight into an otherwise-ordinary day, and the bystanders enjoy the experience, some even joining in with dancing or singing a familiar song. It's like a veil is lifted and something beautiful revealed. And then, often within just minutes, the assembled crowd begins to disperse, returning back to their usual-business-of-life activities -- but changed, even if just a little, by that glimpse of often-hidden beauty in the midst of the ordinary.

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