"We are all of us living in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars." ~Oscar Wilde
"Adventure is worthwhile in itself." ~Amelia Earhart

December 12, 2008

...

I had to run a few errands today. Since the weather is typical for a Minnesota December, I took the bus. An elderly woman was waiting in the bus shelter. She was a typical-looking woman for this area that was settled by mostly Scandinavian and German people. Caucasian, tall, and very slender, and in her 70's or 80's. Two shopping bags sat on the bench next to her. She was facing away from me when I heard a light sob. My tendency to get uncomfortable whenever people get emotional kicked in and I froze and looked down at my shoes. She stiffened and seemed to gather herself together. We waited there for a few minutes more, neither of us looking at one another. Instead, we stared down the street looking for the familiar shape of the bus. Finally, it pulled up and I boarded while she continued to wait in the shelter for a different one. As I ran my bus pass over the scanner, I heard her break out into a fresh burst of tears.

Now, I feel like a bastard for not, at least, asking if everything was all right. I'm sure there was nothing I could have done. Still, it would've been the decent thing to do.

5 comments:

Ferd said...

I'm old enough to have many such regrets, about things I should have said or done when I had the opportunity.
I'm also old enough not to let that happen anymore. Life is short. Even a small little human connection is important to me.

Titania Starlight said...

I understand how you feel. It depends on the situation as to how I would respond. Go with your very first gut feeling. It will be right. It may be why you have regret but there will another opportunity to touch another spirit with a kind word or even just a smile. :o)

Berryvox said...

Ferd and Titania - Live and learn, I guess. Maybe the experience will push me to actually say something next time.

Ian Peatey said...

Hi Berryvox. I like this story - shows that it's often the small things we do (or don't do) that can have the greatest impact on us.

You did what you did ... maybe it would have helped to ask her, maybe it would've made it worse for her. I don't think we can ever know what consequences our actions have. I guess though, that your initial reaction was from fear (of dealing with her emotions) and the later bad feeling was out of unfulfilled compassion.

Thanks for the story! Ian

Jane Doe said...

That's a tough situation. I mean, what do you say to someone you don't know? But, you can always do it differently next time. The fact that you stopped to think about what you could have done, even if it was after the fact, shows that you are a compassionate person. Most people never would have given it a second thought.

I live in Minnesota too, and I'm so glad that 40 below cold snap is over! I heard the weatherman say we shouldn't be getting any more of those. I hope not!