Embrace the chaos.” she said. She stood up and nodded her head in my direction. Then she left.
Three days ago, I sat in a busy coffeehouse, quietly sipping my americano at the table in the corner. It was noisy but I was terribly engrossed in the latest of my literature obsessions (Agatha Christie for anyone who cares). A woman with golden rimmed spectacles, perhaps fifty maybe sixty years of age, wandered over; an Earl Grey in one hand, a beige handbag and a copy of ‘1984’ in the other. She asked, very politely to sit at my table. I quickly moved my backpack off the chair and let her sit.
It wasn’t long before she asked my name. A reciprocation of the question followed by a few comments about the temperamental Auckland weather and we were both engrossed in conversation.(It is rare for me to select human interaction over that of fiction but there you have it).
We spoke about a lot. The current political climate of the United States. The sad reality behind the lack of ocean conservation. She told me that she found it refreshing to see a young person reading a book. I told her it was novel to be in a city where people aren’t afraid to strike up a conversation with one another (what, being English and by nature, inherently awkward in every possible situation).
It was nice. She surprised me when she asked what my aspirations were. I told her of course. Screenwriting, I said. I’d like to write films and television. Now, when I tell someone that I want to write films, I get one of two reactions (that I’d normally describe using the wackiest of gifs I can find on the internet but won’t on this particular occasion). It’s either a sincere, ‘that’s so cool’ or ‘wow, what and interesting career’. Or it’s a sarcastic, ‘that’s so cool’ or ‘wow, what an interesting career’. I get it.
The spectacled woman was the former. She asked about what I was working on and I kid you not, seem sincerely interested in my response. I told her my ideas. I told her my ambitions. I told her that it was difficult. I told her that my head was filled with ideas but no practical way to make them a reality. It’s chaos, she said. I responded. Absolute chaos.
Before long, she’d had her last sip of coffee. She leaned forward.
“Can I give you some advice?” she asked.
“Please.” I said (anything that might help me navigate through life is welcome).
“Embrace the chaos. Before you know it, it will make sense.”
She stood up and nodded her head in my direction. Then she left.
Cryptic. Come to think of it, this had been a really bizarre encounter. I’m not sure I completely understand now and yet, it may be the most crucial thing anyone has ever said to me.
I guess we shall have to wait and see.