I was all set to write about the crazy lady I encountered last night at a bus stop downtown – yes, the very same one I tweeted about; the one who was clearly high on something that wasn’t just life, screaming obscenities at everyone in eyesight before proceeding to ask those same people for change. I could describe how she tried to kick her way on to a bus, threatening to break the door down when the driver wouldn’t open the doors to a complete nutter (quelle suprise) or how she screamed racial slurs at some tourists, but I won’t.
What stopped me from travelling down the path above was a moment of kindness from a stranger this morning during a bus ‘layover’ (ie the time between getting off one bus and dashing to the next bus you have to catch). As I was opening up one of the mouse-trapesque daily free newspaper boxes – my hands full and propping it open with my elbow – a lady came up behind me and held the spring-loaded door down for me while I got my daily paper. I was slightly confused at first, since being highly adept at carrying copious amounts of stuff while navigating my way around the city via transit, I was doing just fine in my pursuit of reading material. At first I thought she was after a ‘Metro’ paper as well, but no, she declined when I offered her one. It turns out she was merely sending a random act of kindness my way. Huh, go figure…
Then tonight as I was getting myself settled on the bus heading home from downtown, another girl and myself shared a laugh over the song choice of the busker – aforementioned older, slightly kooky, southern man with the guitar – at the stop we were waiting at (he was singing ‘Old MacDonald had a farm’ and ‘On top of Old Smokey’) then happily went back to our own bus riding activities (doing a crossword and texting) and didn’t speak to eachother for the remainder of the trip.
These two events got me thinking about all those brief connections you share with complete strangers during your daily travel. Not only the acts of random kindness, but also the shared laughs or wry smiles. The shared looks of confusion, annoyance or mutual disgust – like the time me and a lady sitting across from me on the bus shared a look of horror and then a giggle over the disturbing sight of the HAIRIEST plumbers butt crack ever (my psyche is still haunted by the vision, as is hers I’m sure). These kind or shared moments are especially important on public transit, which as most know can be rather trying at the best of times, and downright unbearable at the worst.
I enjoy these moments and find them facinating. I’m sure I will one day expand upon my facination and enjoyment of transit interactions for your reading pleasure, but it is late, so I shall conclude by saying thank you to all the strangers I’ve encountered on public transit who bestowed me with kindness when they didn’t need to. Thank you to the people who have helped me pick up my groceries when my shopping bags toppled over, who have let me have a seat that was just vacated and who have shared a laugh with me and who have helped my day be just a little bit better in some small way.
Oh and of course, a special shout-out to the lady that tried to prevent my wrist from being snapped by a spring-loaded newspaper box door this morning.
Thanks for making the unbearable, bearable people!