On my evening commute today there was a woman talking angrily on her cell phone. For those who don’t commute on public transit – this is what we in the business call “a no-no”. Something I have learned over the past three years is that daily commuters somehow come to this unspoken agreement of polite company. People do their best to work, talk, and generally co-exist at a lower volume, allowing for you and your 8,000 fellow train/bus sardines to have a more pleasant couple of hours in the mornings and evenings. Clearly this woman was not well versed in commuting culture. I did my best not to eavesdrop on her conversation but with no other noise and her ever increasing volume it was easier said than done.
The gist of her conversation was that she was unhappy with all the commuting and traveling she had been doing lately. (Preaching to the choir my friend!) She also very clearly felt like she would be picking up some additional responsibilities from the person on the other end of the phone and she was, shall we say, less than pleased by that idea. She barked some demands into the phone “well you need to figure this out soon so I can make plans” and then moved on to what seemed like a strange game of blame, shame, martyr (everyone’s favorite emotionally manipulative version of duck, duck, goose) “I’m just so tired of all this all the time I don’t know how much more of this I can take”. Every stop she would look up and demand of someone “what station is this?! I can’t even read the signs. They don’t stop the train where you can see the signs.” She also got angry when we went under a tunnel and she was temporarily unable to harass the person on the other end of the phone. “Yeah, well I’m on a different line this time and I didn’t know there would be a tunnel there. See, this is what I’m saying. I’m sick and tired of all of this…”
That was the point at which she lost me. I still have a lot to learn when it comes to being happy and appreciating life, but there are a few things I can tell you and one of them is that you don’t get anywhere in life by getting angry at tunnels. I hope for the woman’s sake I was seeing her on an off day and that she does not always carry around so much angst and aggression. What a toxic life that would be.
On my drive home I raised my voice in annoyance. The driver in front of me was displaying some less than stellar automobile navigation skills. As soon as the words left my mouth my brain pulled to a stop and I started to laugh. In that moment I was just as bad as the woman on the train. That’s such a silly way to live and I couldn’t help but laugh at myself. Smiling, I turned up the music and sang my way home.
Upon arriving home I stretched and took a hot shower. I popped on a mindless but funny TV show and cooked/ate dinner while preparing tomorrow’s breakfast and lunch. I sang in the shower, danced while I cooked, and I laughed at the jokes on the show and the jokes in my own head. I was happy. I was reminded that sometimes it’s the simple things that make life so wonderfully bright.
Wherever that woman is, I hope she has found the little things that make her world a better place. If not, I hope that one day she will. Because, from where I’m standing… those little things are all around us just waiting to be enjoyed.