what world this is, i think i know

Once upon a time in the early 2000s, I went to buy a concert ticket from my local, neighborhood, chain CD store. The clerk was taken aback by how far in advance I was buying a ticket for whatever band it was, and he snidely commented that I had plenty of time — not like it would sell out. I replied something along the lines of “I don’t know — in my world they’re pretty popular” (meaning something along the lines of “I think they’re popular, so I thought I would buy my ticket early just in case”). The clerk replied dismissively, “Well, we all live in the same world.”

I’ll grant that it’s mostly semantics. He was being literal; I was attempting whimsical. He was talking about the world of this solid earth, with grey buildings, green grass, unpopular bands, etc.; I was talking about the world of my Cartesian brain, with architecture that makes me dizzy, grass that smells like childhood, shows that sell out before I get my ticket, etc. (I think, therefore the world is, but I know nothing about anyone else’s thinking and/or world and/or concert-going habits.)

His reply still pops into my head occasionally and gets stuck. I have daily evidence that the world I live in is fundamentally different than the world of other people, and as far as I know their worlds are different from each other. But as advice, “We all live in the same world” makes some sense. Whether or not it’s true, for large parts of our days we have to proceed as if we live in the same world. Thank you, record store guy.

I’ve referenced this guy before. I can’t recall his face or the band I was trying to see, but his flippant comment somehow stuck. “So long lives this, and this gives life to thee.”

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