A LITTLE over a year ago, my wife Sarah and I bought a 2018 Hyundai Tucson. It’s blue. A light blue.
In fact, it looks the same color blue as the character Bloo from Foster’s Home for Imaginary Friends (Anybody with me, here?). Anyway, we didn’t want boring-old grey. Everybody’s got boring-old grey. Yawn.
We were about a split second away from deciding on this tawny, warm orange—more of a burnt umber, if you will—as the color of choice when we clicked online to the blue color that reminded me of Bloo from “Foster’s Home for Imaginary Friends.”
So, I saw the color and was like, “Bloo!!” So, we got the blue Tucson (which Sarah also liked, I will just so happen to point out).
At least we’ll be unique, we thought.
(Okay. Brief explanation. My son Connor and I used to watch this animated gem of a tv show when he was little. Foster’s Home is where imaginary friends go in between gigs. When a kid outgrows them, the imaginary friends go to stay at the home until a new child adopts them. I loved that show. Everything about it was super great, especially the animation. Plus, I know what it means to be in between gigs, so…)
There’s this thing, this phenomenon, that happens wherever we turn our minds to something we think is unique. Psychologists call this the Baader-Meinhof phenomenon. More commonly, it is referred to as “frequency illusion.”
This is when you buy a blue, Hyundai Tucson because, well, at least you won’t be getting the same car as everyone else. Then, as soon as you drive the car off the lot, you start seeing your exact car, everywhere. In fact, you very soon see that there are three on your street, alone.
So, not quite so unique after all.
Still, it’s a sharp-looking ride, and my occasional Lyft passengers seem to be comfortable. So, that’s all good stuff.
The other day, I pulled up beside a Hyundai Tucson at a stoplight. It was the same year, same color, same interior, same everything as our Tucson. There was a young woman driving it.
If I were to be called upon by the authorities to describe the driver of my car’s doppelgänger, I’d say she was in her late twenties to early thirties, dark hair up in a high ponytail, and at least her right arm had a sleeve of tattoos.
Part of the reason I remember those details is that I began to think about how she must have liked the blue Tucson, just like I do. And that was weird and interesting to me at the same time.
I mean, let’s suppose for the sake of argument that she’s the one who chose the make, model, and color. She chose the same as I did. We have that much in common: an impeccable taste in mid-sized SUVs. That’s pretty much it.
But then I began to wonder: What if we had more in common than what’s on the surface? What would happen if I imagined a circumstance where I could see *The Lady in the Tucson* as if she were more like me than different from me?
Why do I always tend to shut off possibilities when it comes to people I encounter in everyday life with one assumption after another?
We continue to live under the delusion that we are separate, unconnected beings; that whatever it is that makes up “Me” is solely contained within the walls of my epidermis.
There’s no way to overstate the fact of our time: in America, we are divided. I could write for days about why I think we’re so divided, and I probably will. Some other days.
For now, I am moved to consider the Lady in the Tucson. What else do we share? It what ways could we possibly be alike?
Does she have siblings? Children? A spouse? Does she shake her head every time she sees a Phillies’ starting pitcher turn over a three-run lead to the bullpen, knowing a loss is sure to come?
Does she get scared about her future? Does she wonder if she’s living the best life she can possibly live? Does she regret?
Does she chase after the next big moment as if it were the EXACT MOMENT she MUST HAVE in order for her life to have meaning?
Does she have a hard time sleeping? Does her leg hurt when it rains? Does she ever get stolen away in the pages of a book? Does her heart fall into pieces when she hears a certain song? Does she sing?
Does she know she is a completely unique, one-of-a-kind, expression of God, never to be duplicated? An expression of Love itself?
The Lady in the Tucson and I could be more different than we are alike. But, we might also be more alike than we are different.
How will I know?
Maybe she just likes Bloo as much as I do. Who knows?
Peace to you.