Observations from the light rail to SeaTac
Observation: Of the 12 souls I can see from my seat at one point, 9 are engrossed in their cell phone.
Wondering: What are the ramifications of losing connectivity with those around us? Of not exchanging a smile with a stranger? Of not taking time to observe humanity?
Observation: Not only do young men not offer their seat to (also young) women, they drop into them themselves just because they were they first.
Wondering : If we are teaching our children that men and women are equals, which (rightly, I believe) includes the non-necessity of deferring—all things being equal—to women (formerly known as the “weaker sex”), are we also teaching them when it is kind and/or courteous to defer to a pregnant woman, a parent with a child, an elderly man?
Observation: An exuberant young man with Down Syndrome boards jiving to whatever happy music is playing through his headphones. He’s smiling from ear to ear, eyes lively. A woman sitting near where he is standing by the door catches his joy, seat dancing to unheard music. Other passengers smile. Most refuse to look at him.
Wondering: Are we afraid to be joyful in public? Are we embarrassed by non-conformity? Are we afraid of catching joy? or Down Syndrome? What are the differences between those who accept—even embrace—the differently-abled and those who pretend they aren’t in the room?
Story from American Airlines flight whatever
The middle seat in my row was supposed to be empty, was when I checked last night. The passenger sits down to headphones and phone, texting as we taxi toward the runway. While we wait in a long line of departing aircraft, my seat mate confesses he’s been reading over my shoulder the notes I’ve been hand writing for this post. He’s intrigued. I’m not sure if because of what I noticed on the light rail or that I was being observant in the first place. Or maybe that I was writing it down.
We strike up a conversation. Those who know me know this would not be a common occurrence for me.
He moved to Seattle a month ago from Charlotte, NC—our destination. He flies every week. I ask what he does that he travels so much. Sales rep for Hershey. Is that even a real thing?! His territory includes Alaska and Hawaii. Sweet. He frequently travels between Seattle and Portland. I think he flies, but I give him a card for my Airbnb anyway, along with one for my blog. Look at me, networking!
I confess it did occur to me that he might hand me a chocolate kiss, but it wouldn’t occur to me to ask. Then he says that most people ask if he has samples. (Sometimes I think I’m differently-abled.) Usually, he says, he doesn’t; but today he does. He hands me a new bar on the market (Reece’s Outrageous) and one that is not yet on the shelf (Milk Chocolate and Reece’s Pieces).
I give them to the Bigs after dinner one night (my 12 and 6 year old grandsons). But first they have to listen to the story from row 15. Sweetness happens when we break out of our zone; maybe even do a little chair dance.
(Postscript: I decided not to bring my computer on this trip. I’m typing on the Bigs’ mini iPad, or whatever this is. Tedious. Please excuse errors. And I don’t know how to add a photo from my library.)