“a face this scruffy, shaggy, stubbly, brow-beaten, aged, hollow, and slight. None of the Erics I sat next to in school dragged around a garbage bag large and lugubrious enough for me to fit inside of– or at least, not yet.
This Eric did, though, and I was sorry to have forgotten his name, because he remembered mine. I'll have to build up the nerve to ask him again– again– someday. His voice was raspier than a Leonard Cohen buzzsaw, and his name, ordinary as it was, served as a reminder that he was as we are, regular folks trying to make something of ourselves, for a month or for an hour."
As it turns out, I was able to work up the nerve to ask his name, which is John. Tonight John said only one thing, but it made my night, perhaps because, like many of things John says, it was so completely unexpected coming from such a gruff countenance. When I can manage to understand his slurred voice, I usually come away feeling moved.
This evening he didn’t say anything for the whole ride– until he was ready to leave. He just watched me as I worked with the people and gradually got us block by block through the Valley.
“I'm taking a liking to you," he finally grumbled as he stepped off. "You show genuine concern for your passengers."
I call them Mark Twain moments. This was another one. You might not believe a movie where the scruffy street denizen used the phrase "genuine concern" after a period of contemplative observation.
But it does happen.