After a long plane ride, my brother and I hopped on the airport shuttle, exhausted and ready to go home. Immediately we both pick up our phones to see the latest happenings on our various social media sites. What did we miss in the past 5 hours? Nothing too great; something about Time Magazine wanting to make Miley Cyrus their person of the year (really?), a friend posting her latest crockpot recipe, and 10 extra 'likes' from the pictures I posted of the weekend. Invigorating stuff, I tell you. Sitting across from me was the cutest little girl-- probably about 3 years old, and oh-so curious. She was asking her dad all sorts of questions during our journey to the carport. I said hello to her and when she was too shy to respond, I retorted to my trusty hand held device. All of sudden I hear her say "Daddy, why is everyone on their phones?" I look up and, not only was my brother and I glued to our screens, but everyone else on the shuttle was too. The dad began to explain "Well baby, that's just the world we live in. No one just talks to people anymore." Although I felt he could have sugar coated his message and tailored it to his 3 year old audience, he had a point.
During my evening commute the next night, I began thinking heavily about this man’s point. I decided that I wasn't going to rely on my trusty handheld to get me through tonight’s train ride- no way. So I put my phone away and took my headphones off and just people watched. Within the first 5 minutes of hearing one foul word after another from the teenagers behind me, I was reminded why I drown myself in music and Facebook after my evening commute. It may be mindless, but it’s definitely more pleasant than hearing words that would make Ozzy Osborne blush. Right when I was about to give up on the lofty idea of finding good in the world through random conversation, a little Ukrainian woman walked up to me and started talking. She was the cutest thing ever! She asked me how my day was, what train I was getting on, and what I was having for dinner that night. She proceeded to tell me all about her day; she when shopping with some friends and had to get on the Pittsburg/Baypoint line to get home to her daughter who was making pot roast for dinner. I told her that her train was before mine and that I would help her make sure she got on the right one. When her train came up, she bolted on to get a seat. Bummed that I didn’t get to say goodbye to my new friend, I watched her sit down. Once she settled and still within eyeshot of me, she hollered "Bye Honey. Have a great night!" I said "You too!", I smiled, and she was on her way.
Although there wasn't anything particularly profound about that experience, I was glad I had my headphones off for it. Who doesn't like to be asked how their day was? And by one of the cutest little ladies on the face of the planet, at that! I think it's a good reminder for us all. I'll admit that after a busy day of work, the last thing I want to do is have a random conversation with someone sitting next to me. I think it's so easy to get caught up in fake reality, and so easy to lose faith in humanity-- it happens to me on a daily basis. However that experience was a good reminder that everyone needs those little moments to lift their spirits, make them smile, or even to help them forget about their troubles- if only for a minute. Just look up.