I'm looking at people around me and hoping, in this new year and decade, that I'm not alone in my desire that everyone be good to one another.
People on the street, on the bus, don't smile at one another. Their faces are cold, but my (perhaps naive) desire is that this is just a protective front, that they don't want to appear vulnerable. I watched a girl stride confidently onto the bus last week on my way home from work. She was petite, dressed in a funky short floral sheath dress and black tights. She immediately began talking to everyone within earshot, engaging them in conversation.
This was strange for a couple of reasons: one, people on that bus just don't talk to one another. They listen to their iPods, they read the news or check their email on their Blackberrys, they don't engage.
The second thing that made this so remarkable was that the people she engaged first were cops. We were in the middle of a fare raid by the Muni police. She stopped, grabbed a pole, and asked earnestly, "Why are there so many of you in here?"
In the face of such a strange interruption, she called bullshit. This was not normal and she wasn't going to pretend it was. It was so different, so wonderful to watch, that I got a little teary. I'm determined now that people just need to call bullshit on the stone faces, the apathy, the lack of warmth. For the whole bus ride home, people around her talked, exchanged names, traded stories. This has never happened before. I wanted to tell those people to promise they would start conversations on the bus every day going forward.
But I didn't. I listened to my iPod, watched silently from the back of the bus, and exited and walked home.