Thursday, October 30, 2008

What I learn on Skytrains and buses

Today, a young woman sat beside me on the train. After a couple of stations, she started giggling uncontrollably, covering her face with her hands, bending over the backpack she had placed on her lap. Many of the passengers, at least those not absorbed in their iPods or their cell-phones, turned to stare with disapproval. Meanwhile, I looked out the window, embarrassed to have her next to me. It was as though I wanted everyone to know that I was not with the giggling lunatic sitting beside me. The woman continued laughing for what seemed like minutes, and then finally stood up and got off the train, one station before my stop. I didn't feel relief over her departure; instead, the empty space beside me for that last little stretch before I got off seemed infinitely more embarrassing. I realized it would have done us all good to be able to laugh with such spontaneity and abandon once in a while. Maybe one of these days, when I feel braver, I'll laugh at nothing on the train and ignore all the dirty looks. It might be therapeutic.

On the crowded bus, a student stood holding onto a pole by the exit door. He had his backpack slung over one shoulder. On the outside pockets, the name "Kristen" was scribbled in blue ink over and over again. I just had to smile. It was something I would have done to a boy's backpack years ago, scrawling my name all over and daring him to appear in public with it. The boy's nonchalance was endearing and it just made my day.

* I'm going to disappear from the blogosphere for a short while, just until I get back into the swing of things with school. I know what I need to do....

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