Crumbs From the Corner: Adventures in Woolgathering

Thursday, November 20, 2008

The Long Wait

"To live is so startling it leaves little time for anything else."
-Emily Dickinson

I encountered a man at a bus stop the other day. He ignited a conversation out of thin air and a desire to address somebody. The fellow's stories revolved mostly around his wife, a pleasant lady who was next to him in a wheelchair, and a job he had held long ago. We and other huddled passengers shivered together in the bus shelter as the wind whipped in, invaded our bones and appeared to slow down the hands on the clock tower that rose out of the rooftops and out of the November shadows.
To nobody in particular, the fellow told that he had, in his lifetime, been declared dead on three occasions. During the most recent experience- a duration of five minutes- his wife was informed of the tragedy.
This man had been dismissed from the world by the resigned wave of a doctor's hand. Momentarily he had been waved back in, by reason of a phenomenal alteration in his status, to tell later his meandering tales to random strangers, of which not one uttered another comment about the chill or the interminable wait for the bus.


Ruth L.~ said...

A sensitive post. It makes me sad.

Pauline said...

We all have a need to tell our stories - even if it is to a "captive" audience.

Barb Hartsook said...

Your story-telling delights my soul! I'm shivering to the bone reading this post, listening to the man tell his tales, even caring to listen with my heart.

What I find beautiful is your compassion as you recognize and validate people's quirks. Something others (and I know a few) would find fun to ridicule later, to "entertain" their buddies.

paulmerrill said...

Always great to get perspective...

Pappy said...

Huuuuum. Pappy

Phyllis Hunt McGowan said...

Ruth, yes, it was sad for me to hear his tale- but fortunately he seemed happy to be alive, not dwelling on it in a negative way.

Pauline, I like meeting people randomly like that, although not everybody does. Sometimes we need to let people tell their stories too.

Barb, I've met too many people like the kind you mention- who would see a quirk as something to mock. I learn a lot from listening and watching and getting out and about on the buses, which I've only just started to do.
Your comments are heart warming :)

Paul, getting perspective is one of the best things I've found about taking public transport- you really see a different world.

Jaime said...

Amazing what can happen when you get to chit chatting with strangers at a bus stop. A seemingly ordinary event..waiting...turns into a story I'm sure you won't soon forget.

Phyllis Hunt McGowan said...

Jaime, I won't forget it. People are so interesting. Everybody has a story.

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