Dear stranger on the bus,
I wish the process of getting to know someone started from the inside out—a warm, solo light navigating its way through every crevice of your soul—through childhood nostalgia and your deepest trenches of conflict.
I wish that, with every conversation, I could discover a new cavern and number it in my explorer journal… Cave #25 of the What-Makes-You-Tick Upper Chambers…
All cheesy metaphors aside, I really think that God, or whatever all-knowing presence you subscribe to, got it wrong. Why would it make sense to make us clueless creatures start interaction at the very surface? My clothes, my skin color, my job, my geographical origin…?
Why not start with: my aspirations, my traumas, my memories, my life-changing decisions…?
Shouldn’t it be this way? Shouldn’t I know you from the inside out? Instead of the usual
snap-judgment package, which includes the cursory glances at your shoe brand and the almost reflex-like mental placement of your person in the ranks of society?
Shouldn’t it be that when I sit next to you under the white-green bulbs of this 5 o’clock shadow bus, our conversation should simply bypass the minutiae and dive down into the meaningful?
That way, I can truly appreciate the tiresome and beautiful journey your soul has taken?
In our conversation, we could talk about the time a piece of music drove you to tears.
In our conversation, we could talk about the exact moment you were irrevocably changed and damaged by something your mother said in passing.
In our conversation, we could talk about the time you had an amazing conversation with someone until the sweet fogginess of 4am—and proceeded to make sweet, foggy love with them until noon that same day.
And of course, not sound like complete perverts having a soft porn conversation on this home-bound bus that will take us back to the very minutiae we are diverting.
Isn’t it that much more efficient? Because isn’t it just the most frustrating thing to stumble upon someone you know will dazzle you and terrify you and push you to your very limits of feeling… yet have to start off at the boundaries of social propriety, with a meager “where are you from” or “what do you do for a living”?
Such a maddening quest, struggling to light a match, only to finally have it catch fire to miles and miles … and miles of fuse, taking years to reach a full-fledged explosion.
How long will it take me to get to you? How long will it take me to get to you? How long will it take me to get to you?
I wish I could know you from the inside out. I wish I could feel your smoke, your fire, your phoenix, your soul—underneath the white-green bulbs of this 5 o’clock shadow bus.
Stranger on the bus