Tuesday, November 5, 2019

Leaving the metro

I am participating in the
 Slice of Life.  
All participants are writing about one moment, one part of their day, 
on Tuesdays.
Thank you, Two Writing Teachers!

Early morning commute. The train operator announces that the next stop is mine, so I get out of my seat and stand at the door, right next to the guy who is first in line. He's a young, fit, good-looking man. I don't stand too close; I am a big believer in giving strangers adequate physical space. Yet, the guy looks at me and jumps a little bit...it's almost imperceptible, but I can tell he is surprised by me standing behind him. Something about his body language, his cursory glance at me, screams he is uncomfortable. What the heck? He inches a little away from me, as we wait for the metro doors to open. This is really peculiar. I don't believe I am crowding him, yet it's clear he is ill at ease with me. He has nothing to fear of a harried, gray-haired lady commuting to her teaching job. I freeze, and soften my bearing, unsure what has made this moment so awkward. Finally, the metro doors open - ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE TRAIN.

I repeat:


I am standing to depart from the wrong side of the train.

Ha! No wonder this guy is freaked out! He's wondering why I'm creeping up on him, on a morning commute. He's found this quiet corner near the door that won't open, and up comes this old lady, crowding him, right at his elbow.

I quickly scooted across the train car and out the door, onto the platform...and laughed out loud. This was SO funny to me. I chuckled all the way out of the station.

What a good reminder to myself to give others' grace.
We simply do not know what is on others' minds, what is going on in their lives.

How did I make such a mistake on my daily commute? I take this train most days of the week. It is so strange that I would mix up the exit door of the train.

I am reminded of advice by Atul Gawande in Being Mortal, about the need to focus on one thing at a time...I had been sitting on the train, wildly texting my colleagues about things that were planned fro the day ahead...I was in 'two places at once.' I don't have Atul Gawande's exact quote, but it was something about the need to eschew multitasking as one ages, and instead focus on one thing at a time...the brain isn't as elastic...or was his advice something to do with tripping and falling? Ah, well, the mind is foggy...at least I got a good belly laugh to start my day.