I guess as I get older, I seem to pay more attention to things going on around me. Not to say that I was totally ignorant or oblivious to them before, but my awareness of my surroundings seems clearer to me as I get older.
Now, I have found there are certain moments that bring us together as the human race, where it doesn’t matter if you are black or white, Christian or Muslim, male or female, gay or straight, and so on. It’s just a lovely moment where everyone is having a good time and sharing it as a sort of intersection of life where everyone at that place in time has met. To me, it shows the best in humanity, how we have managed to survive for so many years as a species, because, deep down, we all want to belong. These moments are, to me, Perfect Moments.
Today, some friends and I went down to Northwood Park for the annual Northwood Fair. There’s the collection of carnival rides for the kids (this year, a bouncy airplane and plastic bubbles you stand in on in a shallow pool seemed to be popular), food stands with food from various ethnicities and cultures, organisations vying for your donations or to help you achieve something (the perfect lawn, speaking confidently in public, that kind of thing), and the stalls that kinda remind you of those garage sales your grandparents used to have full of knick-knacks from days gone by. Near the stream that runs at the edge of Northwood Park and separates it from another park, there’s a small stage with a grassy area in front of it. Sometimes there’s a band playing; sometimes there’s a demonstration; other times there’s someone speaking there.
There was a young lady, maybe 16 maximum, demonstrating Zumba moves in front of the stage to various songs in front of a moderately sized crowd of people. James, Mark and I were standing back, waiting for Jacqui and Karen to buy whatever it was they were buying at a stall. There were old people, young people, kids, families, moving here and there. A White woman at the stall next to us was selling Mondo grass for $2; with no prospective clients, she was texting a friend on her phone. The Asian lady on the stall next to hers was assembling clay figures, with a wide array of what reminded me of cute anime figurines; she was paying close attention to assembling her latest creation.
The poor girl dancing to various songs started her latest routine to a Spanish version of the Jackson Five’s “I Want You Back”, trying her best to look enthusiastic but looking slightly worried that no one else was really joining her like they were supposed to do. She carried on dancing. Mark and I started talking about the song being in Spanish after Mark said it wasn’t the Jackson Five version. Jacqui and Karen were still looking at whatever it was they were looking at at the stall closest to the stage.
The song ended and another one started. And then the Perfect Moment started to take shape…
Now, some of you might not be familiar with PSY, a South Korean rapper, whose song “Gangnam Style” has blitzed the world through his music video going viral on YouTube. It’s a highly addictive song with a great music video; obviously many other people agree, as it is the second-highest viewed YouTube video in history. If you haven’t seen it before, here it is:
Well, “Gangnam Style” started playing, and the young woman dancing pepped up. Many people stopped what they were doing and turned their attention towards the stage, and kids rushed up to join her dancing. The lady at the Mondo grass stand stopped texting, a big smile on her face as she turned to watch. The lady manning the stall next to her (with the figurines) started laughing, grabbed her cell phone, and ran to start filming it for her friends, giggling the entire time. People started clapping, with huge smiles on their faces. A girl waiting in line at one of the food stalls started dancing as well, her friend cheering her on.
And that was a Perfect Moment. I have to admit, I had a big smile on my face, looking around, seeing everyone happy making me happy, and that happiness spreading like a wildfire through the crowd.
I guess it wouldn’t be so special if it happened all the time, but what a better world this place would be if we celebrated and enjoyed life (knowing that we should live and let live, as long as your living doesn’t harm anyone in the process) the way we do in those Perfect Moments.