Thursday, October 30, 2014

Old MacDonald On The Bus

Whenever I get on the bus in the morning, usually when I'm well and truly strapped down, I ask about the ride. At the time I go in to work, I get there at 7, it's a 50/50 chance that I'll ride alone and of course a 50/50 chance that I won't. Yesterday morning the driver looked and told me that we'd be picking someone up on the way, then I'd be dropped of and then the other person would be taken to his destination. This is unusual for me, at the distance I travel, I'm usually first on, last off. I was pleased, I know this ride and I knew I'd be about 15 minutes early at work. Terrific.

When we arrived to pick up my fellow passenger, it turned out that he was a very elderly gentleman who was accompanied by a young woman, a support staff. She immediately spoke to the driver, somehow the trip was booked wrongly, he has an important appointment at the hospital, they can't be late. The driver, nicely, said that he would do what he could.

A little later, not recognizing the route we were taking I asked the driver about where we were. He said, I think expecting backlash, that he's going to drop the other fellow off first. I sat there quietly.

I should have said, "That's great, he needs to get to his appointment, I understand."

I said: nothing.

In my head I was saying: "But I'm supposed to be dropped off first. I wanted to get to work early and now if we are on time, I'll be lucky. Why is it my fault that they booked his trip incorrectly? Why should I have to pay for that mistake? Why do these things always happen to me, they never, ever decide to drop me before someone else." If there was a theme song to my thoughts and rants and ramblings the words would be:

Here a whine.

There a whine.

Everywhere a whine whine.

But. I said nothing.

When we dropped the fellow off, for surgery as it turns out, I wished him luck on his surgery. The woman with me commented that I was a kind man.

I wasn't actually kind.

I was just quiet.

You see I've discovered that the way to be a good person is to just shut the hell up every now and then.

I arrived a work.

The driver thanked me for my patience. I told him that we were exactly on time. He said, "You know what I mean."

Silence itself may be golden - but yesterday, it made me golden too.


wendy said...

But you were kind! You kept your frustration to yourself, which is a tremendous kindness.

Kristine said...

I actually REALLY appreciate you sharing this one. I just started using my area's door-to-door paratransit system, and I keep beating myself up for how unkind my thoughts are some days. I only live 3.5 miles from work, so it's easy to get bitter when "I've been working so hard all day, and now it's taking me an hour and a half to get home, so these guys can go on their community outing?" or "I'm seriously going to be late to work so she can go to Starbucks?" I don't like the voice in my head arguing that I'm a more important person with more important things to do. I don't want to be the person who thinks that way. But until I become a better person, I'm settling for making my words and actions kinder than my thoughts.

Princeton Posse said...

Oh Dave, if only I could learn to keep my mouth shut I suspect my life would be easier. However, that mouth also initiates change. If only it had an off switch.

Anonymous said...

love this!

B. said...

Yup, I recognize that one. The drivers that can evaluate a situation that works for the most good are priceless. Have had some of the kindest drivers. It can be also a totally frustrating experience as well. Very human. Thanks, Dave.