Monday, August 08, 2005

To the back of the bus

All it took was a little grit, patience and a few naps to make it from Dallas to Houston via Greyhound. After arriving in my hometown and being hugged and greeted by my family, I already knew I was going to miss them.

But, back to the bus trip. Despite all of my efforts to remain somewhat solitary, my isolation was disrupted several times by some of the more friendly, if not harrowingly candid, public at large. One man, who sat near by, talked about the inequity that blacks face in Dallas, how to solve the homeless population and why he would never vote for a Democrat, "Not even if it was my brother. You just can't trust 'em."

I didn't expect to hear so much talk about social issues on a bus ride.

As we made our way north, and I journeyed back home to "the big D," we made several brief stops. I knew from the southbound trip that we would pit in Huntsville. My mother cautioned me that there is a possibility that a freshly released ex-convict could board. And behold, a sandy-haired young man, unshaven with a nervous twitch, climbed the narrow steps onto the bus and sat directly behind the driver. Just a few feet away, I watched as he nervously bobbed his head, looking in all directions as if he was waiting for something to jump out of the darkness. So uncomfortable and scared, he resembled a caged animal with no conception of trust. He surveyed his environment in search of something to hold his attention, a victim of his own device.

Back in town that evening, I departed from the bus station in downtown making headway to the West End train station, from which I would journey back home. Home, a place I sorely missed.

Everywhere I went I was engulfed by humanity. All facets of the spectrum, I interacted with each equally, paying no mind to what it showed on its face. This weekend, although fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants unplanned, was worth it. I hope to have a series of experiences like this. Experiences that nudge me outside of my comfort zone. Experiences that take me out of this world but lead me back home.

"Seeing and helping those who need a hand really helps you appreciate life."
"Maybe it helps you appreciate your life?"
"No. It's the fact that we are all human, and when you help another, you are lifting much more than just yourself, your ego. It's about actually being a better person. It's about making others feel good because you can, and you should."

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