Today is cold. I am waiting on the bus to take me back to my home/office after the first weekly meeting with the client for 2016. The meeting was more of a formality than anything else since everyone was more interested in holiday events than in actual work. It is just a way that people have of gradually easing themselves back into the normal routine after taking time off work.
As I wait on the bus I cannot help but wonder where everyone else is going or what is occupying their minds as we huddle together for warmth against the cold. Sadly, there is no conversation amongst us, I suppose that is mainly due to everyone being strangers to each other, although there are pockets of people traveling together who whisper in order to keep their exchanges secret from the rest of us. Another factor is the social disconnect that we all seem to suffer from. Communication with people we don't know is rapidly becoming a lost art. We feel that those who try to interject themselves into our own private space must have some ulterior motive, and we generally accept that those motives must be no good.
And so we wait for the bus. When it arrives, we board in an orderly manner, without conversation and take our seats. I can almost see the walls instantly going up, especially from those who are forced to share their seat with a stranger. I am able to pass the time admiring a young girl seated directly in front of me with her mother. The ice is broken and we connect on the most basic level for a few minutes. Others seated nearby watch us with curiosity but are unwilling to join in. I enjoy the humanity of the moment as my stop gets closer and closer. I have no idea if the mother and child will exit the bus before I do, or whether I will be leaving them.
The innocent conversation helps the time to pass more quickly. I note that there are other tentative conversations starting to take place on the bus now. The ice is melting around us. We begin to sense our common humanity at last. The mood on the bus lightens considerably and it only takes an instant and a few kind words from one person to another.