For anyone who commutes to work every day, you know how easy it can be to slip into what I like to call a “commute slumber.” A semi sleepwalk through the whirling images of the daily grind. Coffee. Slide metro card. Wait…Train. Sit. Read. Steps. Work. All happening to the beats pumping through my earbuds. And so it goes everyday.
Today I decide to wake up from my slumber. Today I actively experience my commute:
I walk towards my coffee shop. A police officer walks a few steps ahead. He rubs his eyes and yawns. As he opens the door, he looks back at me.
“Good Morning,” I say and smile.
He smiles back and steps aside to let me through. I see a long line ahead. I step aside this time and nod to the police officer.
Surprised, he shuffles in front of me and smiles.
I scan the shop. A small child stares up at a gigantic chocolate chip cookie. He tugs at his father’s coat and points at it. His father looks down and shakes his head. “This weekend I will get you one.” The boys eyes widen and continues his intent examination.
“Pick a card.” I turn to see a boy, not more than 16, hunched over a table fanning out a deck to a man. The man puts down his egg and cheese and wipes his hands on his jacket. He reaches for a card. “Look at it. Memorize it. Now put it back.” The boy says. The man does so and the boy stands up straight and shuffles the deck – looking around the room. He then spreads the deck out on the table, closes his eyes and points at a card. “That one.” The man flips the card and laughs.
“Hey, Sigalle! Small medium roast?” the barista asks. “Dark today,” I reply. “How are you, Bo?”
“Can’t complain. Going to Bermuda in 4 days and counting.” Bo looks up with arms outreached. “Give me sun.”
“Take me with you.” I say. He laughs.
I look back at the boy with the cards. He is already on to his next audience – a woman sipping tea in the far corner. I grab my coffee and take out my wallet. Bo waves his hand. “The cop paid for you already.”
“Really?” I turn around but he is gone. I throw 2 dollars in the tip jar and walk out to the train.
A woman bumps into me as I get to the platform. I begin to feel annoyed but she quickly apologizes and all is forgiven.
Swipe my card and my train is waiting. I jump in and grab the seat closest to the closing doors.
And now, as I write it all on the rickety train to my final destination, I realize nothing particularly spectacular happened today. It won’t be remembered in any history books – but today made me aware of life happening all around me.
And, you know what…it’s kinda beautiful.