I was doing my usual thing this morning during my commute to work: namely, I got on the bus, found a seat, and pulled out my book. This is a particularly large book and best held across the lap, and so my usual thing this past week or so has involved staring intently downward and being even less aware of my surroundings than usual.
Today, about ten minutes in, I felt a tug on the shoulder of my coat and looked up into the grinning face of one Erica M. Sklar, dear friend and neighbor and former office-mate extraordinaire.
We haven't seen each other in a few weeks so I immediately scooted on across the aisle to the seat next to her and spent the next half hour or so in animated conversation (perhaps to the dismay of the people around us).
It wasn't until I got off the bus at Columbia that we remembered we have brunch plans for tomorrow and had just shared all of our most pressing stories. This made us laugh, but also left me with a sense of anticipation about the possibilities for our conversation tomorrow. We have already done our basic catching up and can move immediately on to more involved or more abstract things.
We also laughed at the New Yorkiness of our encounter, and the very real possibility that we could have spent the entire ride engrossed in our own little worlds, missing each other entirely. This, I imagine, is how most of America does it -- in their little cars, isolated from the world around them and the unexpected pleasure of such chance encounters.
It made the beginning of my day about a million times better than it might otherwise have been, and for that I am actually grateful to the MTA. (You hear that, Nate? Your former employer doesn't always suck!)