Sultan stands up slowly and erects himself inches from the poster. Despite his classmates protests behind him he stands in front of it, almost defiantly. He has no regard for their wishes to see. He calmly holds his ground looking at the information on the paper. After a minute or two, at the gentle urging of his teacher, and a firm hand on his shoulder, he returns to the group seated behind him.
It has happened to many teachers. They have many names. The space cadet. The absentminded one. The wanderer. It is easy to get frustrated with them. It doesn’t happen on the rare occasion. No, it is a constant. Their name rolls off your tongue easily, as it did yesterday, and the day before, and the day before that. The ones who never do what they are “supposed” to do. They are the ones who have the power to break you.
If you aren’t a teacher, then the age may change, but that person still exists. The people in your office, on your site, in your family, that just never do what they’re “supposed” to do. And it…is…infuriating. Am I right? Why can’t they just get with it? Why do they have to be so difficult?!?
Why can’t you just stay seated SULTAN!?!?!?!
They are the most vexing creatures on the planet.
But are they so confusing? Or is it us who are confused? We look at them in a perplexed manner because we are looking at them through OUR reality. If we, however, took that valuable time to see them as is, as they are, without any judgments or ideas of what they “should” be, we’d find a much more enjoyable image to behold. We’d see them real.
Instead of seeing the Sultans of the world as a nuisance, standing in front of others and distracting you from what YOU had planned, you would see the truth. You’d see a young man curious. So curious that he would risk the displeasure of his classmates, friends, and teacher to catch a closer glimpse of what’s on the paper in front of him. He’d risk discomfort to see the world. Is that such a terrible thing?
That change of perspective reminds me of a play called the Rainmaker by N. Richard Nash. In it, one of the characters, a man named Starbuck, is talking to a girl named Lizzie about a world in which reality falls short of his own vision.
“There ain’t no world near as good as the world I got up here (taps his head angrily). Why?” said Starbuck.
Lizzie replied, “Maybe it’s because you don’t take time to see it. Maybe if you’d keep company with the world… if you saw it real. Some nights I’m in the kitchen washing dishes. And pop’s playing poker with the boys. Well, I’ll watch him real close. And at first, I’ll just see an ordinary middle-aged man – not very interesting to look at. And then, minute by minute, I ‘ll see little things I’ll never see before. Good things and bad things – queer little habits I never noticed before. And suddenly I know who he is – and I love him so much I could cry! I want to thank God I took the time to see him real.”