Monday, February 5, 2018

2.2 - Busses

I was prepared to not talk with anyone on my bus ride back home. I was looking forward to just finishing out the most recent episode of This American Life. I sat near the back of the bus. It was crowded at first, but then it thinned out to just me and one other guy about two-thirds of the way of my ride. And then the gentleman, who looked to be about my age, asked me a question.

He was wearing decent headphones and was wearing decent clothes. He asked, “Where does this bus end up?” I told him that I didn’t know, but I knew that it went as far as the Louisiana Avenue Transit Center. I asked him where he was going, just in case, I knew a route to get there.

“Detox,” he said. I wasn’t expecting that. I took out my headphones and put them in my coat pocket. We were sitting across from each other. I didn’t know what to say, so I just nodded and gave him my attention. I couldn’t hear everything he said, but I got most of it. He was talking about how he just needed to get away from alcohol. I nodded and told him he was in the right place. He kept talking about how much he needed to get away from some people in his life. He had been on the phone for most of the route with I’m assuming someone from the phone company. He was trying to change his number because he was so sick of the negative people in his life trying to contact him. He thanked me for just listening and said that he just needed to get that off his chest.

I kept trying to encourage him. I told him that I had dealt with shitty people before and the best thing you can do is to just cut them out. I made a motion for the cord to request a stop. He asked me one last question, “How do you change?” I had about 15 seconds to think about that before I got off. The first thing that came to my mind was, “Turn off your phone.” He nodded and smiled, satisfied with that answer.

I got off the bus and waved at him as the bus pulled away. Immediately I felt regret. I should have stayed on longer. I should have got his name. I should have given him my card. But then I remembered that saving the world doesn’t require superhuman gestures. Sometimes all it takes is just the willingness to listen.

My mind keeps coming back to the thought that every interaction you have is an invitation to encounter Jesus. I don’t think God works through big events. It’s really just the small things. I hope the gentlemen found a safe place for the evening. I’ll be praying for him.
Three things.
Kids books. I never knew that kids books have actually gotten good. I went to dinner with Kelley on Saturday night. I was still feeling a bit antsy from the day because I had been pretty lazy. I wanted to walk around a little bit more, so we went to a Barnes and Noble. We ended up in the kids’ section, and I naturally started reading some of the books. They’ve got some really good ones! Who would have thought that children’s literature has gotten so funny? Also, my bedtime story reading talents are pretty good, in case anyone needs some bedtime stories read to them.

Schedules. I’m a much more organized person that I thought I was, or maybe that I give myself credit for. I mapped out my entire Sunday, right down to the hour. Surprisingly, I pretty much stayed on schedule down to the hour. I’ve come to the realization that things go a lot smoother, and the day doesn’t feel like a drag if you have a schedule to work off. I don’t think you have to schedule the whole day out, but it sometimes helps if you feel like you need to refocus your life. I don’t know if this is going to be a regular thing, but sometimes it just really helps.

Grace and Frankie. I’m surprised I haven’t written about this show yet. It’s been the best show I’ve picked up in quite a while. It’s about two women in their 70s (played by Lily Tomlin and Jane Fonda) whose husbands (played by Martin Sheen and Sam Waterston) leave them for each other. It’s hilarious and heartfelt, much more than so many other shows out there today. I love that it doesn’t project stereotypes of so many different people out there. Fonda and Tomlin are lively as two 20-somethings rooming together. Sheen and Waterston don’t fall into the flamboyantly gay stereotypes that Hollywood has put out there for so long. It’s got a lot going on, and I’ve really enjoyed it as my go-to tv show recently.

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