256. Smile at someone on the bus
Completed sometime during the spring of 2000
While you escape the hassels of driving and finding a parking space, riding the bus has its own hassles and inconveniences. Like being stuck standing in the rain or glaring sun, mentally unstable fellow passengers, and unfriendly drivers. You learn quickly to not make eye contact and keep to yourself. Even a crowded bus is a mostly silent bus – there’s not a lot of friendly conversation going on.
I made a few attempts at breaking the delicate silence and no eye contact rule. Mostly they turned out to be scary and unrewarding. But there were a few that were exceptions.
The first was during the spring of 2000 – I was newly car-less and only just discovering the intricacies of getting around a largely unfamiliar city on public transportation. I was in the middle of a multi-stop errand trip and feeling pretty proud of myself. I was standing waiting for the final bus to take me back home with my treasures for the day, when a young woman my own age, crossed the street and walked to the bus stop. I looked up and she smiled and I smiled back, and we quickly fell into a familiar conversation as though we were old friends. We chatted until the bus came, sat together and chatted all the way to my stop. It was at once familiar and comfortable yet so out of the ordinary that years later, I remember it vividly. I regret not getting her name or phone number, as I think we could have been great friends. I never saw her again, but her kindness and friendliness brought a bright spot to my day and I’ll never forget it.