Artist: Ingrid Michaelson
(I warned you I was on an IM kick. Which i'm totally fine with because she is AMAZING.)
Do you ever sometimes wonder what kind of conversations you could have with random strangers? Maybe i'm weird, but I think these sorts of things ALL the time.
Think about the last really good, thoughtful, meaningful conversation you had with someone. When I was at SUU this fall, I was lucky enough to have these kinds of conversations almost daily. I had some of the best chats of my life with the friends I made down there. I clicked with a few people there in a way I never had before. Let's just say I haven't had many 5-hour talks about a single subject with too many people. And that's what I miss dearly. Just talking to people.
Well, sometimes I think about the fact that before I talked to those people, I didn't even know they existed. They went to their own high schools, had their own families, did their own things. Yet when the time came for us to sit and chat, there was so much to talk about. Even though I literally had never even heard their name just a few days or weeks or months earlier, there we were. Sitting in the honors common room, or the dining hall, or the balcony, or the grass on campus, or a random bench, or the student center, or all around town, or the picnic tables outside the dorm, or a curb, or a couch, just where the heck ever. And two individuals who had only known each other for a matter of weeks could sit and discuss things for hours. How amazing is that? Sometimes, I love being a human.
Since I ride the bus to and from work, I have a lot of encounters with strangers and time to think. I mean, I also work at Disneyland where I run into at least 20,000 new faces every day, but most of those are just in passing. But at the bus stop, on the bus, walking to and fro...the bus is different I think.
I see these people for the first time ever, and then sit next to them for 5 or 10 minutes and most the time we never exchange a word. But sometimes I think about all those other people at SUU who used to be strangers. Until we talked. And I think that maybe someone who could be my best friend is sitting a bench away from me at the bus stop, but we'd never know because we never talk. Maybe that guy my age sitting by himself could make me really happy. And I could make him happy. But we'd never know.
And maybe I don't even have to have a relationship with these people to benefit from talking to them. Maybe the crazy homeless guy in the powerchair who blasts music and shows up at the same bus stop every night has great stories to tell, and I could learn the importance of education or something. But I won't know because I dismiss him as the crazy homeless guy in the powerchair. And maybe the bus driver has a kid at home whose birthday party he's missing because he has to work that night, and I could learn about sacrifice. Or maybe the guy standing and holding onto the rail is going to his first job interview, hoping that this will be his big break, and I could be excited for him. There are just so many possibilities. And i'd never know the truth behind any of these stranger's faces because I never open my mouth. Instead, I stare out the window or check Twitter for the fifth time in 10 minutes. And i'm not saying I need to become best friends with every person I ever see. It's just interesting to think about. Why is it that I am willing to open up and have people open up to me at school, but not on the bus? I understand that there's this thing called privacy and I shouldn't walk around wearing a shirt that tells my life story. But it's still intriguing to think about. At least to me.
I've heard people say that if you can love someone, that's all they ever really need from you. But I think the most important thing you can ever give someone is a chance. A chance to hear what they have to say. Because if you think about it...
You never really know anyone, until you do.
"A ship in harbor is safe - but that is not what ships are for." -John A. Shedd