This weekend, someone my sister and brother-in-law know came to visit them along with his high-school-senior son. The visitor and his son, whom we'll call Iggy and Nigel (of course not their real names), came to Chicago to spend a good long while at the Art Institute and look around a bit at Chicago, a city worthy of perusal.
I freely admit that all I knew about Iggy was that he was a bartender as a means of making a living and seemed to be a very pleasant guy. I was invited to join the visitors and my relatives for pizza and since I've been living a pizza-free life for quite a while, I thought that sounded just great.
Regarding acquiring the food, very good pizza was orderered, both the thin and deep dish varieties, and taken back to the host apartment. While the pizza was being cooked (My π, pronounced "my pie;" the name is clever and the pizza is good), we walked around that neighborhood and chatted. Nigel is a very bright guy -- curious, smart, polite, kind -- and so is his dad. Many blocks were covered and the conversation was pleasant.
One of the things we talked about was "Record Store Day," the annual event where independent record stores release music that is expressly released on that day. (Earlier that day, my dear friend from Indiana told me what Jack White was going to be releasing at his own record store in Nashville and it is crazy and liquid and just what I would expect from Mr. White, even knowing about a smidge about him.) Then the conversation turned to "Home Movie Night," the annual event where people bring in their home movies -- Super8, 16mm, 8mm -- to show how things were in the days of film or remnants from their days as an auteur. Iggy offered that he had home movies he'd put on You Tube but we didn't have to watch. We assured him we would watch and we did.
And this is where we all see that we can know people and not know them at all. I didn't know Iggy had two children, let alone one. I didn't know Iggy wrote a song every Christmas for his mother. None of us realized he is a very talented musician who's been in several bands since he was a young teenager. He thought he might enter the priesthood but gave it up when he found out they wouldn't let him bring his guitar and amplifier. For a period of seven years, he was the manager of a used record store. He and bandmates in one group were the focus of a local PBS show where they were interviewed in depth and played all the songs on their latest album. Iggy then wanted us to see "My First Four Stack."
Four stack is when parachutists, basically, jump out of the plane and stack up on each other in a long line (it's insane -- find it on You Tube). Iggy had a movie of the first time he did this. It seems that Iggy is a master jumper. Iggy taught people how to jump and has made over 2,400 jumps. Iggy taught Nigel how to pack a chute and was disappointed when Nigel didn't want a part-time job as a parachute rigger because the money was so good. Iggy and Nigel talked about the different chutes Iggy had used by company name and style number.
I left there thinking about how you can hear about a person for years and years but until you actually sit down and have a conversation with that person, you really know squat. I thought about all the people who've worked with me for years who know nothing about me but assume they do because they've worked with me for years.
You only know about someone if they choose to share information with you. Yes, sometimes information someone gives can be incredible (i.e. a crazy webs of lies, half-truths, and fantasies) but it can all turn out to be so very true with video back up and proof positive that you/I don't know me/you.