A few weeks ago, my roommate's friend from Idaho came to visit. I went to pick her up at the airport via public transportation. As we rode on the T, she looked around at everyone on their cell phones and asked innocently, "Doesn't anyone ever talk to each other?"
I looked around at all the strangers, quietly making their commutes together and shrugged.
The thing is, we do talk to each other.
When I was on the airport shuttle bus and saw people and their luggage piling on and cramming together, I wondered aloud how I was going to manage to get out of my seat and climb over the luggage to get off the bus when my stop came. My seatmate looked at me, then at the crowds of people and turned back with a smile. "Just cough REALLY loud." I started laughing and he and I just grinned at the thought of convincing everyone that I had a communicable disease.
Last week, when our bus driver got the bus into a fender bender, despite the fact that we all had to wait for a new bus to come by to pick us up, when we climbed off the bus, every single passenger gave the bus driver encouragement and kind words. She had admitted to us that she had never gotten in an accident before and the worry she felt for the situation was written all over her face.
Today, taking the T to Harvard Square, the driver called out in a sing-song voice, "We're at Harvard!" and then said slightly more professionally, "Harvard Square." I chuckled and looked up to find a girl across the aisle also chuckling at how happy the driver had sounded. We smiled at each other for a second and then looked around to see if anyone else had also noticed.
There's the college-aged boys who rushed to get seats on the T and then looked up and saw me, standing beside them, in my skirt and heels. Immediately, one of them jumped up and offered me his seat. I tried to turn him down but he insisted and so I took his seat and then he stood our entire trip, without one word of complaint. In fact, when we got to the same stop and alighted and parted ways, one of his friends noted I was going to the same bus stop and he smiled and nodded in my direction.
On the bus ride home today, a man and his adorable 3 or 4 year old daughter were riding together and carrying on a cute conversation in Spanish that included the girl giving her dad kisses and hugs. When they got off the bus, the dad mentioned that they were leaving the bus to his daughter and picked her up. The daughter turned towards all of us on the bus and called out, "Adios, amigos!" And we all chuckled. Some even called back out to her, "Adios."
We don't talk often but I'm finding I enjoy these moments, glimpses into the lives of people around me. Glimpses into the friendliness we can show and share.