When I got on the bus this morning my usual place on the left side of the bus, behind the driver, was taken by a pleasant young woman in a very powerful wheelchair. I was strapped in on the other side of the bus and we were off. We headed up Yonge Street, as is fairly typical for my morning trip. As we were going I realized that I had never, ever, ridden on that side of the bus taking this route.
When riding the bus I always entertain myself by looking out the window. Others who share rides with me use the time differently, playing games on small gaming devices, texting on phones, reading or sleeping. Me, I enjoy simply watching the world pass by. One of the joys of traveling WheelTrans is that every trip is different and I get to know my city by seeing each trip as an exploration. So, because I had always sat on the left side of the bus, I’d only ever seen the west side of Yonge as we headed north. Today, I saw the east side of Yonge as we travelled.
It was marvelous. It was like moving to a whole new city. I saw the wonders of the East and realized that it was a very different world than the West. Very, very cool. It seemed to be life’s way of showing me that there are ‘two sides’ to every street and thus, ‘two sides’ to every point of view. I find myself sometimes getting stuck, getting mired down in negativity or becoming hell bent on being ‘relentlessly positive’ (as I have been called).
It’s important that I don’t get so enmeshed in one world view that I close myself off to other world views. Situations that present themselves, in a life lived fully, come randomly. Sometimes there will be a string of wonderful positive experiences and I will develop a kind of dependency on positive energy. Sometimes there will be a string of negative experiences and I will develop the habit of seeing and expecting the worst in human nature. In both situations I forget that ‘there are two sides’ and, thus, my writing and my world view become narrow and, by definition, one sided.
I resolved, not in the New Year’s way, to be more careful of getting into the ruts created by day to day experiences. I want to be open to seeing the big picture in small daily occurrences. I want to be able to take my experience as a man with a whack of adjectives (I am adjectively gifted) fat, gay, disabled … and see the whole of the experiences. I can see why people get mired in negativity, there’s a lot to be annoyed about, but I live in a world that is equally full of kindness and pleasures and warmth.
I don’t want snowed in curbs and blocked disabled seating and nasty comments from strangers on street corners to turn me sour on the experience of living fully and freely. I can’t let them jail me into expecting the worst and thus no longer being vulnerable to the effects of a stolen smile across the way from someone who didn’t need to but did anyways.
Remember because it matters.