Exchanging information

There’s always going to be someone smarter than you in the room. But then – so much of what you know, they may have never encountered. It’s really rewarding to give someone, or a group of people, access to something you use and understand; something you grasp and even love.

And I walk away having learnt something – more than one thing – too.

Two men sat behind me on the train on the way out to Horsham, Victoria, to teach a workshop called ‘Going it Alone’ at Horsham Library (as part of the travelling Independent Type exhibition, and through Express Media). One of these men was old, with light jeans and a collared T-shirt, and a large white patch of smooth skin grafted over the back of his head; and one was young – skater-wiry, with a dark fringe in his wide eyes. (Yes, he was cute).

Was it his father, his uncle? They sat close, and the older man spoke much more while the younger listened, patiently and open. The older man shared knowledge of relationships, planes and trains, and history. Then he asked the younger to show him his way around his mobile phone. The older said, while he enjoyed using flickr – a photosharing tool – to create galleries of eras in his life (a childhood photo next to a Mad Magazine cover), he thought Facebook was ‘intrusive’ and ‘gossipy’. The younger patiently explained about social media choices and etiquette, but it didn’t matter, flickr was more ‘his thing’, the older said.

‘Hey, you’ve changed,’ the older said.

‘Funny what 15 years will do to somebody.’

He’d been just seven years old, the last time they met.

‘The only constant is change’, shared the younger, to the older, who probably already knew that.

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