on the r-r-road

i like getting to know the people on the bus. or should i say, know of.

there’s the chinese boy with long hair and funny boots who is always next to a white girl, they never talk. the punk dude with bleached hair and a nose ring. the woman who is reading water for elephants. i know where they board and where they alight, almost all of them – it’s become a little a game. there’s the elderly lady who does her knitting and needs an extra seat to hold her knitting bag. she packs up carefully exactly one stop before she wants to get off. there’s the woman with a hong kong accent who likes to quiz the man wearing sunglasses about the various bus routes and times. and then there’s me, doing yesterday’s crossword and listening to soundless earbuds because my ancient ten-year-old ipod shuffle has run out of battery, again.

and today someone said i was personable. not shy or reticent or unparticipative or reserved. personable. pretty shocking, huh? i want to write this down because i never thought of extroversion as something desirable, but now maybe i do. for every hundred people i encounter there’s got to be at least a handful whose companionship i’d enjoy – and a hundred whose lives i could learn from. a typical i-think-too-much, keep-to-myself person would almost never be able to unlock any of that. how is that not losing out? so there is a new respect for affable, friendly people.

maybe this is because this place is so full of them, and because their friendliness is mind-blowingly real. there is hardly any grounds for accusing them of simply networking, a term that we like a lot back in the old place. people really are radically different and it’s powerful – powerful enough to rub off on a jaded (ha) person like myself, to make me want to learn such wholehearted interest people other than me-me-me-me-me-me.

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