Archive | December, 2011

I Love Old People

26 Dec

I love old people!  After today’s interaction with an elderly woman, I am now fully excited to talk to as many old people as possible.  In fact if one makes a vow to talk to at least one old person every day, perhaps one’s life will improve. I also simply like the phrase, ‘old people.’  There’s something cool about it.

After a long day of school preparation I made a plan to meet with Dan at Blondie’s bar for a drink.  I dropped off my bags at home and walked out to the street to wait for the J-train.  To my pleasant surprise it was just pulling up to the train stop.  Perfect timing!  Sweet!  The door opened, I walked in.  The door closed.  My hand reached into my pocket to retrieve my wallet.  The train began to move.  I realized I had forgotten my wallet at home.  At the end of the train car, two police officers were checking passengers for proof of payment.  Fuck!  Of all times, this is the time the frekin cops need to check passengers for proof of payment?  Luckily for me, the train arrived at the next stop before the cops got to me.  Fucking bastards!  (Just kidding…I’m happy they’re around, protecting us good citizens, working hard for the government as loyal minions under a brilliant system of extortion and fiscal irresponsibility…Fucking bastards!)  I hurried out the train and all the other passengers shot daggers of smug glares in my direction for assuming that I was one of those jerks who tries to ride the train for free.

I hurried back to my house, picked up my wallet and went back to the train stop.  I checked my computer to see the time for the next arriving train: 20 minutes.  Fuck!  Dan is waiting on me.  I’m so late.  I’m tired!  The whole public transportation system in San Francisco sucks! And why am I such a dumb ass and keep forgetting everything? Sigh! I was feeling irate.

Finally the train arrived and I sat down.  I found myself yearning for a conversation with a stranger on this train.  I had one of those “Just-say- hi” urges. I eavesdropped on a conversation between an elderly lady and a younger gentleman.  Everyone else in the train was too cool and pretentious to make eye contact with me.  I noticed that a high density of groomed mustaches, plat shirts, and skinny jeans, come out in the San Francisco streets during the weekday afternoon hours – probably on their way to meet their other hipster friends at ostentatiously adorned coffee shops or dirty cheap dive bars with walls sprayed with cool graffiti by the hand (and mind) of a white, young, affluent gentlemen, who probably wears fake 1960s-style eye glasses and works on his Apple Macbook while sipping a $9-shot of espresso.  (That was fun to write.  I’m just being playfully snarky.)

“I’m trying to get to a restaurant called Foreign Cinema,” the elderly woman told the man sitting next to me.  “They have really nice red wine.”  The gentleman told her to get off at 16th St.

16th St was my stop as well, and I was silently happy for the prospect of helping this lady with further directions.  I followed her off the train and told her that she could walk 4 blocks to the restaurant or wait for the 22 bus to take her there.

She said, “It’s been 25 years since I moved to San Francisco, lived all my life in the Marina.  Yep, I’m a Marina girl. I gave up my car not too long ago because it was just so expensive.”

I got all excited and said, “Yeah! I hear you.  I also gave up my car not too long ago.  And whenever I go to the Marina, I’m just as lost there as you are here.”  She laughed.

I continued, “Not only are we saving tons of money on parking, gas and insurance, but we also are forced to walk and take public transportation.  That way we can meet strangers and say hi to them, just like I met you!”

The woman gave one of those looks that suggested, “Hey, I’ve never thought about it that way but I like that idea!”  And then she said to me, “Hey, I’ve never thought about it that way!”  She chuckled and then said, “Well thank you!  It was nice meeting you!”

As I walked her up to the bus stop I said, “Well there’s your bus stop if you choose to wait.  But these buses come so infrequently.  You may be better off walking.”  When we got to the bus stop, the computer screen displayed “2 minutes” until the next bus.  “Well, there you go!  You got only a two minute wait!”

The lady looked pleased.  “Thank you!” she said with a really cheery voice.

“Enjoy your wine!” I responded.

I was happy.  I remembered myself cursing the public transportation system only 10 minutes before, and cursing myself for being so absent minded.  And then I realized that the damned Muni and my stupid forgetfulness led me to a wonderful few moments of interaction with a complete stranger.  Thank you, Muni for being slow.  Thank you, Allen’s brain for forgetting your wallet.

Note to self: be grateful; don’t hate; talk to old people!

Advertisements