The smallest things can make a difference…

12 Aug

My bus took a wrong turning today. I’m glad it did.

There’s this guy who’s been on my bus every morning since I started taking that bus. Tho’ everyone tries to pretend that this isn’t the case, the plain blunt truth is that he looks pretty much like a stereotypical suicide bomber. He knows this as well as everyone. Everyone who tries to pretend that they don’t notice, and that he’s just another bus passenger like the rest of us.

Anyway, poor guy, he sees the subconscious suspicion. For most of us (I hope) it is unintentional, and undesirable. But that doesn’t change the fact that it’s there, however unwillingly we are displaying such suspicion. Despite my own conscious effort just to be normal, I must admit to trying to sit away from him, just so he won’t see the book I’m reading at the moment: “Afghanistan: Where God only comes to weep.”

The guy’s defence – and I can’t blame him – is to tell himself that he doesn’t care what the rest of us think of him. He looks at us with a proud and defiant glance, possibly just as unwillingly displayed as is our suspicion.

Vicious circle. Such unfriendly glances towards us only further promote suspicion. And I can’t speak for everyone when I say that the suspicion is always unwillingly portrayed. He does have some justification for feeling victimised.

Anyway, today when the bus took the wrong turning, the whole crowd of us stood up to get off. All us people from GT, and also this poor guy. One of us – Ali, I think – told the bus driver he’d taken a wrong turn (he must have thought he was on a 23, instead of a 23A – that was the turn he took) and the bus driver went to turn around.

So we all stayed on the bus. I happened to turn round, and catch the eye of my friend. He was just behind me, ready to get off and get another bus to wherever-it-is he goes every day. Just as confused as the rest of us as to why the bus had made a wrong turning.

He was smiling.

I was glad to see that smile. As we got off the bus today, for the first time we were not greeted with a scowl from his nearly-at-the-back seat. The incidental smile was no longer there, but there was a serene recognition of something or other on his face.

It was good my bus took that wrong turning.

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Posted by on Friday, August 12, 2005 in encouragement


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