Having spent my whole adult life tucked away in my car or in my office or at my house, I have missed out meeting new people. I think it is probably possible to stay that way, even by taking public transit for the morning commute. Head down tapping away on various technology devices or absorbed in a book. We can be together, but distinctly separate. Floating through our day like a little emoticon dot on a map, in a sea of others.
On the other hand, act in a more vulnerable way. Be open to meet people wherever you go in a day. That does not mean conversation necessarily. Although it could.
As I walked up to the bus stop this morning, a little later than usual, a woman in green scrubs was waiting there already. I don’t usually see anyone at the place where I get on the bus, so this was unusual. She appeared to be listening to sound coming from 2 hand-held devices. I wondered what on earth that was all about.
As I approached she turned them off. Then she asked if the bus came every 10 minutes to this stop. I thought it did, based on my limited experience of the schedule. She told me it was her first day riding the bus. I could empathize with that. I confirmed that I had been riding for only 2 weeks.
Then, over the course of the next 5 minutes, the stranger gave me all sorts of details about her life. Where she had come from originally, presumably far away and then where she had lived most recently. She asked if I walked around our town on a regular basis, commenting how beautiful it was.
I pulled out my computer and was getting ready to start typing away the long ride ahead of me and the stranger handed me a card asking, “Will you be my friend?” I suppose this happens on the bus all the time. I met someone recently who was pregnant and thrust her phone number at Mom’s who had new babies. She happily reported to have made 2 friends that way.
I thought it rather odd, to pounce on unsuspecting people, trying to make a connection on something so thin. A shared bus stop or the role of being a Mother is not really a foundation for a friendship. Or is it? If I consider why I am friends with my mates, there was a moment when one person put their hand out and started the relationship. Of course, it has not been that simple for me. My good friendships have taken years to cultivate.
I wonder if attempting to create friendships on the fly, is a new thing? Is there a book out there which advises this course of action to alleviate some kind of condition one suffers from? Although I can’t imagine the bold act of trying to connect with complete strangers is a thing which even healthy people are easily able to do.
No, it is probably a time old tradition of wanting to connect with another person. Something in the way they speak or stand or carry themselves is all it takes to make the decision to reach out. It is as simple as that. I am probably not used to being in small spaces with so many people, either. Maybe, the sharing of space also drives connection.
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