Just when I’m about to give up entirely on humanity, something incredible happens.
It happened in the best way possible: during the first beautiful, soft snowfall while standing at a bus stop on my way home from work. I was cold, and I could tell she was also by the way her feet mirrored mine as they dances back and forth, making footprints.
She smiled at me and I plucked up enough courage to ask, “Do you know what time the bus will be here?”
“Oh any second now, I expect,” she replied, looking up toward the street to see if she could find the glowing headlights of the Monaghan bus. Her glasses reflected the dimming streetlight and snowflakes caught on her eyelashes. Her greying-yet-dyed-blonde hair was starting to fall into her eyes, blanketing her face.
I thanked her and stood in silence for a few moments, playing with my iPhone. Then, a miracle happened: for the first time since I’d returned home from Costa Rica, a stranger actually made conversation with me.
God only knows how badly I tried to do this very thing once I had arrived home from CR (which is probably the most friendly country in the world to those of you who have never been there). I stopped pulling my phone out on bus rides in the hopes that the person I’d be sitting beside would continue on a conversation with me. I had helped a couple people with their grocery bags and tried small talk but to no avail. I had given up with even bothering, I really had. People are too self-consumed to want anything to do with other people, am I right?
Apparently not, because the next thing I knew, I was telling this woman all about my life. Everything from my family to my school to my hobbies was rolling from my tongue before I could even think. She was telling me about herself too; from where she gets her hair dye to her why her granddaughter hates her new house.
And it was beautiful to have such an open conversation with someone JUST BECAUSE.
I think the best part about this is that she is the one who initiated the conversation. It was so refreshing and surprising to have someone actually wanting to talk to me that I found myself eagerly jumping at the opportunity. I absolutely love making conversation with people, it’s one of the reasons I love my job(s) so much.
When the bus came, I noticed her oxygen tank. It was very similar to the one Hazel carries around with her in The Fault in Our Stars to those of you who have seen this movie. It hit me then that it might be that this lady was talking to me because she needed to talk to someone also, possibly while she still could.
I don’t know why she had the oxygen tank, so I won’t pretend that I do. But it made me appreciate the fact that I hopefully have plenty of years left to make polite conversation with strangers and to hear what they have to say.
You never know if they’ll change your life.