So today on the bus....
visual: Black lululemon halter tank, black leggings tucked into my new obsession of trendy yet casual black boots and a black jacket is me in the not-normal-for-me-Ninja-esque outfit today. A hot pink woven belt slightly sitting on my hips adds a much needed flare and a neatly placed baby blue headband in my tangled 'messy look' of hair complete the snob-ensemble as I wait at the bus stop with a little attitude in my stance....
I am excited about today. I always wear bright colors or some kind of insane combination of lululemon neon extremities. Not today. I am all business, all black rendition of sexy Sandra D from the movie, Grease about to rock out with John Travolta down the aisle of Bus 720. Or maybe a little, can't touch this, nuh nuh nuh....Hammer style. It is funny, I literally feel like 'hot shit' (in a good way), waiting for the bus. About to Charlie's Angles anyone that messes with me. HI-YAH!
Alright, I have gone too far with the outfit. Funny how it can kind of take over....
So, I step up to my bus and insert my cash. After today, I am now clear that NONE of the machines give back change, so my past couple of rides have hiked from $1.25 to a lofty $2.00 trip. I shake it off and mentally note to get quarters immediately.
I find a seat near the middle to spice things up. I have been riding in the front too much as of late. Still feeling pretty awesome in my outfit rushing through traffic on Wilshire Boulevard towards my place of work in the 90210, I am manifesting something amazing.
Couple stops and there he is! No, not the young, attractive rider from the other night...but my old man with the extremely overgrown and never-been-trimmed-ever eyebrows with his nice suit and fedora. I recall our exchange from the past, he did not speak very good English and we just smiled a lot at one another. It was such a beautiful way of communicating.
He grabs a seat a couple rows in front of me. He must have missed my huge smile, probably the all black clothing threw him a curve-ball. Shucks! I look like everyone else on the bus in these deep monotone colors and my belt is hidden behind the other seat rows. An older woman starts walking to the back of the bus and I vacate my seat and offer it to her. When I say older, I do not necessarily think she was that old, but she just had an old face. It was as if she had prematurely started to wrinkle around her eyes and started hunching over, with a somewhat younger energy. Something like that.... Anyways, she took my seat.
I, of course, jump up to stand by my old man friend. I tap his nicely dressed shoulder and kneel down to his under-fedora-hat-eye level. I remove the plaid sunglasses for the eye contact effect, awaiting recognition and all out rejoice as we are about to re-connect.
He turns slowly around and looks at me somewhat startled. I smile and ask if he remembers me? He is dumbfounded as my heart slowly starts to break and I try to remind him of our past bus ride in a quick, save me, remember me, please! kind of way. I shake his hand and formally re-introduce myself.
He responds with a shoulder shrug and says, "I'm Persian. Not good English".
Well damn. This monumental moment in my bus-riding life had just been seemingly squashed by his memory loss and lack of communication skills.
Then, he grabbed my hand and told me that I was very nice and pretty. I knew the all black outfit would get them, some how, some way. Guess this was it.
I squeeze his hand back and let my heart slowly mend. I stand back up beside him and stay there the whole rest of the ride. He looks up and smiles every so often and we carry on in this way until I reach my stop.
I ponder my expectations in that moment. I had hoped and wished he would light up at the vision of me, hug me and be so happy to see me, just as I was as I saw him slowly step up to the bus and find his seat. I had expected an old-man loving embrace, friendly conversation and an authentic name exchange.
When I realized he didn't remember me, I immediately took it personal. I had remembered everything from our once off encoutner. He was so wonderful and such a new experience for my bus rides. "Pshhh, whatever!", I thought. I'll just go back to the back of the bus and find a different seat and let my ego just rake up points on embarrassment, narcissism and disappointment. So there!
But, I stood there. Beside him. Tapped him lovingly on the shoulder and smiled when he glanced up every other two minutes. I had made the choice to be love for another and still very glad to see him and share this bus ride - even though he didn't remember what I thought was an unforgettable face, mine, on the LA Bus.
Expectations. When these are not met, they can literally rock the bus ride of life. Again, it is WHO we choose to be in that moment. The choice we make for the remaining part of that interaction, or the day, the year, our lives....
Disappointment, fear, embarrassment, anger and the likes lead us down a path of destruction. Who would I have been for my older Persian friends had I just written him off and sat down in the back? I'll tell you, I would have been nothing, lame, and no one great. Instead, I stood there and just was present and shared the space with him.
As I departed, I wished him a beautiful day and a smile. He nodded and smiled back. And that is really all I needed. The communication of smiling that I had so quickly forgotten when he didn't recognize me. When he could not respond to my word vomit of "remember me? remember? remember this?".... that to him was and still is complete gibberish. It was humbling. Beautiful. Amazing.
I am so thankful that I saw him again. A familiar and friendly face on the bus. And an all too necessary lesson about expectations and who we get to be every single day when those high demands and one-sided expectations are not met, we are let down, and what we actually get to create in that very moment.