On the 4, outbound, nobody's left on the bus, and I whisk past Hill street on MLK, and there's two local youngsters, teenagers probably, hangin' out on the sidewalk. I wave to them but I have no expression, my face frozen in some sort of totally unnecessary zen zombie driving face. One of them makes eye contact with me, and offers a warm smile. He must know me. The split second is past as I drive by, but it was there. I really wish I could've been smiling then. Shoot. His was warm and real and genuine and contained the multitudes a tiny moment can easily handle. All I had in return was a blank stare, like a water buffalo who's not hungry. Hope he knows I smiled wide the moment I went by. Hope I get another chance. That guy's quick on his feet.
I have a couple of huge posts coming up, at least one of which will go up over the weekend. Meanwhile, I have a question-
Recently I came across a commendation given to me some time ago. This was when I was doing the 10. A passenger- I believe, an older gentleman- had written in, praising my attitude. The bus was utter chaos that day, and I had handled things in a way that impressed him. I'm quite tempted to reproduce his description of the day here, but I blush at his kind and generous description of my actions, and I suppose I ought to preserve the privacy of his writing. Anyways, it was great to get his feedback, and I was thrilled. It's one of the better commendations I've ever received, and I'm thankful that the gent took the time to write it.
I was struck by one of the closing sentences in the commendation. It reads, "This is an exceptional human being. I would get to know him better if I could."
Now, my question to you is, what on earth does that mean? I'd get to know him better if I could? What societal pressures is he referring to that make him think he is unable to do just that? Do we live in a time and place where people cannot meet with others unless they have an agenda- political, romantic, or otherwise? Are we supposed to avoid contact unless there's a personal gain to be had, or an ongoing interaction to be created? Do we admire rather than interact, for fear of spoiling that which we enjoy observing, or because it's the easier path to take? I don't know myself. Maybe he was just passing through Seattle, or had a sore throat that day. I'm quite curious to hear your thoughts, whether in the comments below, or email, or the next time you and I chat. Don't be shy!