Not unlike the way we become desensitized to some things we hear about on the news, I find I’ve become desensitized to the number of people on the planet.
Then again, I’ve probably never been at a place where I ever really understood how many other human beings are out there. Daunting and near impossible to imagine, right?
You can tell me how many people live in the US, in Canada — even in the entire world — and I’m good with it. “Good” meaning they’re all pretty big numbers, and since I can’t really wrap my head around how many people there are, my brain moves on.
Then there are those times when I look something up online, usually a word. After I scroll through the various definitions, I see it towards the bottom of the page: the section of replies from everyone else about what inspired them to look up the same thing. The often amusing, sometimes ridiculous and occasionally snarky comments get me every time.
“Wow. There are a lot of people in the world,” I think to myself.
It’s ridiculous that something so mundane makes me finally begin to fathom the number of people around us at all times. All with different beliefs, different likes and dislikes, different hobbies, different histories and different paths. It’s never a picture in a book, in a newspaper or on TV to make me take pause. It’s a comment, and something that gives a voice to the numbers.
We talk of local legends, often in the context of a storefront, eatery or person of some sort of prominence, but there’s so much room for us to put our own stamp on our tiny, individual corner of the world. And assuming that everyone makes their own life exactly the way they want it, adding flourishes here and there and painting it whatever color they wish, I am thankful for the staggering number of little side streets, nooks, local legends and out of the way places all around the world that exist to be experienced.