02 October 2008
I Like to Knit on the Subway
I believe in the unspoken connections between people. The way you can somehow feel attachment to the person standing in front of you on the subway. That slight sense of kinship, maybe because you're both drumming your fingers against your legs in the same way to different music, or maybe because you're both bobbing your heads and getting weird looks from people, or maybe because you're both young, or because you're both on the same train, or just because you're both people. You're both human beings, breathing and dreaming and beautiful and fallible. Your hearts are both beating. I believe that all people are tied together in some way, which is why we are able to feel sympathy, empathy, pain, love, and happiness for other people. Exhibit A: 2 Train yesterday evening. I was sitting down, listening to Korpiklaani, and this guy in jean shorts and a white t-shirt stood right in front of me. Probably about my age, and also listening to music. We didn't speak, didn't even look at each other, and yet I felt an invisible line stretching between us. And when the person beside me stood up, I heard the guy in front of me give one of those relieved sighs, one of those "Thank God I finally get to sit down," kind of breaths. And then, before he could, some other guy cut him off and stole the seat. I wanted to stand up and give him my seat, but I had so much to hold yesterday. Although I did get off the subway before him, so he was finally able to sit down. But my point is that when the seat was stolen from under him, I felt that shimmering string between us tug, and I looked up at him for the first time and we both smiled identical smiles. And the connection strengthened, just a little bit. And I guess this blog post was inspired by Melvin's post about how we should all just be nicer to people, and I was thinking about how sometimes, all we have to do is smile, in order to bring life to the limp yarn threads that weave from one person to the next to the next to the next. Sometimes, all we have to do is prick a little life into them, and you never know what can happen. Maybe you'll make a new friend, maybe you'll just feel a little better inside, or maybe, most importantly, you'll help someone else to feel a little better inside, all without saying a word.