While I was sitting in the theater last night, watching people file in, it occurred to me that there is great beauty in the diversity of the human species. And I'm not even talking about ethnic diversity, although that is beautiful. That's occurred to me often enough in the past, though. Last night I sat in awe as I watched people of all sizes and shapes walk into that auditorium.
Some were dressed up for the evening out, but many were in shorts and sandals on a hot August night. There were small children not quite old enough for school, plus some very large adults. Some shuffled, some strutted, some looked up and some looked down. Me, I looked everywhere, just to see this spectrum of humanity.
It just took me by surprise, that I hadn't ever really appreciated how interesting these particular kinds of differences made the world seem. I have eclectic tastes in books, movies and music, and I've never liked things to be the same all the time. But for some reason last night I thought, Wow! What a wonderful world. Everybody's different.
It started as we were walking in from the parking lot. Walking ahead of us was a spectacularly tall fellow wearing a fluorescent blue shirt decorated with images of tropical fish, and sporting a blond frosted mullet. I mean, this was the kind of person who attracts attention without even trying. I couldn't tell if he knew he was interesting looking or not.
And all this was before I remembered that we were there to see the Summer Repertory Theatre's production of the musical "Honk! The Ugly Duckling." It's a charming play with singing, dancing, wink-wink satirical cultural references, and in this case a cast that included children even tinier than the tiniest ones in the audience, playing ducklings and froglets.
It's also a story with a point, of course, based on the Hans Christian Andersen morality tale about overcoming and celebrating differences. When you're a swan, you might not fit in at the duck pond, but your awkwardness and uniqueness matter less as you grow older and wiser. In my case, it reminded me that we are all different and that we all contribute to the mosaic of society.
It even made me take a quick look at myself, with my funky new haircut and my perennially clogged nasal passages and my awkwardness with people. Then I looked away. It's just a play, after all, not a therapy session. (Besides, it's about the mullet guy, not me!)