Wednesday, October 16, 2013

bus conversations, overheard

Yesterday, it was one of those people: the ones we avoid making eye contact with, hoping we will remain magically invisible, untainted by their imbalanced minds. Except this particular one of those people was one of the friendliest of any people I've ever seen. He smiled huge smiles and greeted everyone who got on and off the bus and blessed us with his rosary and his love of Jesus Christ. He complimented the mothers on their well-behaved children and asked the children about their classes and their favorite colors and insisted on telling the bus driver (repeatedly) that he was the best bus driver, the most accomplished driver, he'd had the pleasure of traveling with. And what was so sad about all of this was that we all, myself largely included, continued to treat him as one of those people with whom its best to avoid eye contact. The children ignored him, the parents silently condemned him, and I buried my nose in my (admittedly very compelling) book. Eventually he got off the bus at 162nd Street and stood on the corner cheerily waving at us as we pulled away. And I've found myself thinking about this, tainted by his imbalanced mind, wishing I'd had the moral fortitude to catch his eye and warmly grin from ear to ear.

This morning was less tragic and more plain old awesome. Two kids, probably about five years old, got on the bus in the midst of a very serious discussion about zero. One boy, perhaps a little older, perhaps just more attuned to the abstract world, was explaining to the other boy that zero isn't just a number. That, in fact, zero is nothing, but nothing can be zero or else it is something. This seemed to blow the other boy's mind. In a good way.

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