Tuesday, August 15, 2006

An East-Indian, an Atlantic Canadian, and an Iroquois get on a bus . . .

. . . no joke! This post is about my commute home last night. Two of the men were particularly talkative and started discussing a wide variety of topics, such as the work situation in BC, different types of jobs (they were both tradesmen). The third guy joined in when they started talking about various aspects of Bush/US/Iraq/oil/etc. There was an accident on Fraser Highway and the bus had to detour and the whole thing took a long time. The men who were talking had the education of the average tradesperson and were talking very loudly.

When my stop arrived, I got off the bus along with about 4 other people. They are all people who regularly take this bus home together and we normally get off at that stop. As we all got off the bus and stepped onto the relatively quiet side of the road, there was a collective feeling of relief that could be felt. We all walked across the busy street together and then started walking home. Aside from two of the guys who walk together and chat about different things, we walked in silence.

This morning, I found myself thinking about that incident last night and wondering about the behaviour of the workers and the behaviour of the 'suburbanites,' for lack of a better term. I mean, the five of us regularly see each other, know where each other lives, and yet, when stuck on a bus together for more than half an hour, we don't even share a friendly 'hello' or remark on the situation. Granted, people were reading, or trying to sleep as I was, but we still could have managed to be a bit friendlier. There were three strangers on the bus who had never met before and they managed to get to know one another and have a pleasant conversation (well, pleasant to them; not so much to the rest of us). Yet, the five regular suburbanites know very little about one another, despite all living in the same neighbourhood.

Gretchin Rubin's Happiness Project is infecting me with happiness ideas of my own. I think the next time I see them in the line-up or on the bus I'll start out with a small friendly smile and nod of recognition. Maybe one day it'll build up to a whole conversation and a new friendship will be born.

1 comment:

Kim said...

Pleasant for them, not so much for us. Sigh. That's a definite drawback to commuting by bus. But you make an interesting point about how people who see each other on the bus every day don't talk too often. I've been in that situation before too. Interestingly enough, I was recently approached by a woman I used to see on the bus every day when I commuted to UBC. She said hi and said she recognized me from the bus all those years. Cool, eh?