Most days when I’m out of the house, I like to feel that I have a responsibility to make someone’s day good. This mini superheroine feeling has been with me for years, way back in high school; it hasn’t been broken off yet. When in the midst of people and you hear tales like, ‘But for that person that took the initiative for the attendance, we wouldn’t have otherwise… ‘ or ‘It was that lady that had the needle with the thread in her purse.
She had a couple of pins too she used to tuck those flyers in. Who knows what would have happened… ‘, chances are they were referring to the person my inner spirit urges me to be like, but for my frequent bouts of social anxiety.
A sad excuse as to why I’m not always the good person I aspire to be. So when the lady seated beside me in the bus, on my way home from a midday outing yesterday, started to act unsettled and fidgety, I eventually got struck with empathy enough to give her all the attention she seemed to be in need of. I thought also it could be my benevolent deed for the day.
Earlier on, I was giving her just about the required minimum attention you’d allot a stranger and not appear conceited, but she kept asking questions concerning the commute and pretending she wasn’t noticing I was feigning concentration on my tablet. I guess she was really in distress as she was barely indignant at my slightly cold and uninterested display.
In fact, she was rather interesting in her inquiry tactics. She would ask a question gently, which was ironic for her distressed state, and then she’d half-smile and wait till I got ready to answer. And I took my time. I wasn’t in the mood to be friendly. But she did not let her countenance waver. When I answer she’d ask another question.
Subsequently, she got my interest and I tried to find what her pain was about. We had been in traffic for close to 2hrs and what I could best infer, it was her first time on that route. She was fastidious about timing, and appointments, so when the scheduled time for her to meet with this certain host drew closer, and the host’s call turned disturbing, it got her apprehensive.
With the calls, her host led her to believe she had spent way too much time on the road and if she wasn’t still close to the arranged venue, she might indeed have gotten lost. So for someone stuck in an unknown location in an unseen-before traffic, she exhibited the right amounts of agitation. She asked if that was the only route to her intended location -after which she told me her location. She asked if I knew the vicinity of the venue and how she’d get there swiftly from the bus stop she’d alight.
She asked if the traffic was normal for that time of the day and when it would stop, if quickly or gradually. She asked if I thought she should try to find another means to get to her location as she wasn’t sure not to make a wrong decision by herself. Then she confided in me the intricacies of her business after I started to show her concern and not brush off her questions.
She made me deeply realize the other kinds of people there were in the world, the ones that differ from my character disposition. I’ve not really thought of how queer my friends are and what bonded us the most, whether our similarities or differences; with the same traits you’d complete the other, with different traits you’d complement each other, or the other way.
But what I saw at that moment with this seat lady was our differences and how I appreciated them. I’m conscientious, I have maybe an edgy amount of pride, conservative, calculating, amongst others qualities I noticed she was short of, which wasn’t bad at all. What she had, that I lacked, was what drew me to her. She was trusting and open-minded, even if she saw I appeared younger than she was. Judging by the dynamics of the conversation we had, she was bright with good self esteem.
After I made her realize her worry wasn’t going to change the situation in any way, the traffic wouldn’t seize and she would still be late thereof, she resigned to weak disappointment and then got more assertive. She gave away her day’s purpose and why she was worried though she disclosed nothing private, or personal. Then she helped me with suggestions on my hair regimen, tricks to mising fuel, and other things that made me laugh.
She wasn’t loud and this was good because we were on a bus full of passengers. I liked her. She was like a free spirit and conversation wasn’t forced. More than an hour later and we got to her bus stop. She alighted, but not before thanking me multiple times in a row. She waved when she was out of the bus. I waved back and smiled at her. We did not even exchange names. She could be a mini superheroine trying to make my own day in a distress call disguise. I doubt I’ll meet her again, or even recognize her if I do. The good talk we had.