Ha! Thought I couldn't come up with a post for X, didn't you? Well, obviously you don't know that I can't resist a challenge. Or, in this case, #24 of a series of 26 challenges. But who's counting? (Spoiler: me. I'm counting. Oh, am I counting.)
Seriously, though. Does the letter X even have any reason to exist? Well, yeah, I guess I'm undercutting my own argument with that sentence, aren't I? What with the word "exist" and all. But I submit that in 95% of all cases, the letter X e_ists for the sole purpose of torturing people who are heroically struggling their way through alphabetic challenges.
But, be that as it may, I'm still going to count xenophilia as one of my favorite things. I may have invented this word myself (I haven't checked any dictionaries), but it's totally valid nonetheless: it's simply the opposite of xenophobia, which means fear or hatred of "the other." And "the other" means: the stranger, the outlier, the one who is not like us.
I came up with the idea of posting about xenophilia about a week ago, when it dawned on me that it was something my husband has recently accused me of in the context of planning vacation trips. It's true: all things being equal, I would so much rather go to someplace I've never been before. Since I know I'll never get to most of the fascinating places in the world, why not try to get to as many as I can, instead of repeating? But as you can tell, my husband doesn't share this view, and so when we plan a trip, there's always some compromise involved on both sides.
But then I started thinking about a more general kind of xenophilia, and I realized that I probably have some of that too. Don't most people who love to read have it? Aren't they trying to eXperience (Yes, I know that was an X) other places, other circumstances, other lives, than their own? I know I am. The habit of talking to strangers is another form of xenophilia, but since I'm too shy to do much of that directly, I use reading, and writing, as substitutes. And of course, there's this blog. I'm addicted to tracking what countries my hits are coming from - the more eXotic (Yeah, I know) to me, the better.
With apologies to my husband, I believe that xenophilia is an eXcellent (Argh! Not again!) thing. I find it kind of related to the concept of "A man's reach should eXceed (Oh, barf!) his grasp, or what's a heaven for?" It's a good thing to try to see beyond your own narrow range of vision, to stand in someone else's shoes, to ask what-ifs, to imagine alternatives, to roam through the stars.
What do you think, fellow wanderers?