Riding the bus I get to watch and listen to some exceptionally interesting people. One of them last week was the bus driver himself. He looked like a redneck Santa. All big and jolly with white beard but just a bit rough around the edges. I was the only one who got on at the stop that morning and he asked if I was headed to work and where it was that I was employed. Yes, I replied. And I work at Barnes and Noble which he was just thrilled about. He loves to read and was right there with me when I told him that I could read or a living I would. We talked a bit about what kind of books we like and he liked history and current events which then lead us to politics. He asked if I was voting and if I didn't mind him asking, who would I be voting for. "I have my Obama button on right now." I said. "Good girl." was his reply. I have no qualms stating my opinion (as everyone knows. "Big surprise, Sarah" I'm sure you're saying.) We chatted just a bit longer and it came to a stop when he said "All right, he comes another passenger. I gotta be careful what I say. Nice talking to you." Same here I told him. And that was that. He was such a pleasant spirit but even more so at 7:20 in the morning. I love striking up a conversation with someone and seeing where it takes you. We all have so many differences, but at the same time we are all so alike.
Last Thursday evening after my nice dinner with my college girlfriends, I was waiting at the bus stop to head home. (By the way, drinking two glasses of wine without a second thought is great when you take public transportation.) There was a woman probably in her mid-60's with a very Lutheran photo of Jesus. And when i saw Lutheran I mean angelic, peaceful, serene. The catholics like their Jesus a little bit more worn, with the crown of thorns and on the cross. Anyway, this sweet woman with her hair in the bun, thick and large lensed glasses, and her orthopedic oxfords on her feet set her Jesus photo on the bench, displayed nicely next to her bag. And waited. Not too long after she sat down another woman came up, maybe a few years younger, she didn't have as much gray and was wearing jeans (tapered jeans but not slacks like the other woman.) The woman who had just arrived looked at the photo, then at the photo's owner and said "What a lovely picture." And the older woman perked up right away, beamed and said "Why, yes." And without missing a beat the younger one said "He is a bit caucasian looking though. There were no white people there, it's the Middle East" And the woman with the Jesus photo looked like someone had just told her that the Toothfairy, Easter Bunny, and Santa were all not real. Her dreams were broken and to top it off she was offended. But I also think that she was so shocked she couldn't come up with a comeback quick enough. And then the younger woman tried to back peddle with stuff like "We all really don't know what he looks like, we won't know until we die. We can just pray and believe, Jesus loves us all." But I think the damage was done to this woman however. I wanted to say to her, "Even though I agree with her about Jesus not being white, you take your lovely photo of Jesus home, Sweetheart. It's a beautiful rendition, and I'm sure it will look wonderful in your home." Instead, I let the two battle it out, smirked at their attempt to be politically (religiously?) correct, and giggled to myself at how quickly we as humans can become offended. Me included, but whether it directly involves us or not, we all have opinions and many times it will take a verbal sledge hammer to knock them down.
I love people watching, people listening.