Adventures of a Homebody #1 - UBC Operation Smile Club
January 18, 2015
Let's face it: Facebook stalking has pretty much become normal.
One simply needs a handful of minutes to blow, a mild curiosity, and a reasonable excu...
Don't be an online Costco Sample (featured in the Richmond News)
August 24, 2012
Adventures of a Homebody #2: Cafe Deux Soliels
January 26, 2015
Back to school means hello to public transit (featured in the Richmond News)
September 5, 2012
As the oldest child of protective parents my first experience of the public transit system was in Grade 7. My class was going to the Museum of Vancouver, and while my fellow classmates shuffled up the metal stairs, I curiously alighted the large vehicle with an awe I'm sure was amusing to everyone. The bus was dirty and crowded, but I was more than happy to stand. And I was delighted by the thrilling jerk the bus made when we started off. "It's like skateboarding!" I had exclaimed. Which, coming from me was absurd because I had never skateboarded before either. Needless to say, I must have been a source of entertainment to my teacher and classmates. In a word, they were probably all thinking: "Wow, what a N00b."
Thankfully, this odd, magical exhilaration has long since worn off. Although the Canada Line is convenient beyond belief, it does not dazzle me as it once did. I have grown familiar to the sights and patterns. People enter, find a seat, stare out the window, check their phone, pump their music, read their newspaper, sleep, dream, wake abruptly and exit. One gets to observe the silent whitecollared workers, the young, gadget absorbed loners, the exhausted, overworked heroes transporting between jobs, the giddy elementary school kids, delighted by their independence, the overly affectionate couples- basically, the many faces on the bus.
I've started conversations with strangers once or twice. Sitting hip to hip, both trying to appear occupied, I've turned, smiled timidly, and asked them if they had a busy afternoon. It's a question that's never failed me; because usually the answer to my delicately poised question is 'yes.' And usually it comes attached to a smile. Because just like you and me, these people are probably bored and tired, and wish someone would be brave enough to care. And when I say care, I mean as human beings. Saying hello does not instantly commit you to a lifelong friendship. But it is a greeting that brings strangers together, and turns a dull ride into a pleasant one. One elderly lady I talked to was coming home from a card club. In 10 minutes she had told me about her daughter who had studied literature in university, her hobbies, and the rules of bridge. Another lady had just finished her nanny shift and was headed to work at McDonalds. This strong woman had worked the entire day, would get home late, sleep minimally, and then take off the next morning to do it all again.
And so to tell you the truth; in a certain sense, riding the bus will never become boring. It seems ironic that those crowded boxes on wheels can be filled with isolated individuals. It's like S.T. Coleridge's much quoted "Water, water everywhere and not a drop to drink." Loneliness should not exist in a place where so many are familiar with the feeling.
So this school year, I'm determined to make the most of public transit. Not just as a way of going "there and back again," but as a medium for meeting people. Who knows, maybe one day I'll sit next to you and say hello.