A couple of the things I love most in life is learning new things and experiencing new experiences, it doesn’t matter what the subject matter is, it’s just having the experience of something new.
Recently I moved to Madison WI, my move was primarily because of a job opportunity within the University of Madison. Every day, Monday through Friday, I would leave my house at 6: am. The hundred and sixty-mile round trip commute from Milwaukee to Madison seemed feasible at first. I convinced myself that this quite drive in the morning would give me the opportunity to have a conversation with God, do some soul searching and just let the wind blow in my hair. The trip back was a little different, I would take this time to turn up the music, pretend I sounded just like the artist that sang on the radio, hitting notes that I knew didn’t really exist on any major or minor scale; freeing my mind of all negativity of that day, or I would oddly think, why is that car in front of me going so slow. I had gotten the routine down to a science, and more times than not, I’d be amazed that the car had partially driven itself; there was very little thought that went into me steering, accelerating or braking, I would pull up in front of my house, with more of a question than a statement, “wow I’m home?” Until one day on my commute home, I was stuck in traffic for two and a half hours, I spent that time counting up the weekly cost of my time and travel, the cost of gas, parking, the wear and tear on my car and when I got home I was too tired to even eat. (Losing twelve pounds wasn’t bad though.”) Two months later after a series of events, I made the moved.
Of course now that I live here in Madison WI, the bus system became a way of life, you only drive when you have to. I learned that I could hop on a bus and go anywhere in the city and there is very little wait time. I could literally look out my window see the bus coming and walk to catch it, “I say walk because for sure if I missed the eighty in five minutes the number two was pulling up.” This bus thing was turning out to be awesome. One morning while getting on a packed bus, the bus driver looked at me and informed one of the passengers to give me their seat, what an awesome gesture! I politely sat down and said thank you, “Wow that was nice, I thought to myself.” On the way home that same day, I get on another packed bus, everyone squeezing in and making room so that no one gets left behind, a young man around nineteen or twenty, looked up at me from his seat and with a quiet whisper, said, “Ma’am you can sit here.” As he pushed his way up, leaving space for me to slide into his warm seat, again I thought, “Wow that was nice.” Slightly making eye contact we both smile and three stops later he was gone.
What a daunting new experience, riding the bus wasn’t so bad, and I learned that the gray hair elegantly pouched front and center on my head allowed me to “Please take a seat.” (Was this a matter of age?) Laughing to myself, I certainly hope not, I still look to be in my forties or so I’m told. Anyway, I learned that while there is cultural difference everywhere, both of these gentle beings were Caucasian, this made my bus experience quite different, and thought-provoking.
I am always aware of my beautiful blackness, but on this particular day, I did not feel the pinch of racism or the stare of wondering eyes, what a great memory to store in the corners of my mind. Not everyone has a hidden agenda, and there are truly some astounding people in the world in which we live.
What are your thoughts? Let’s have a conversation, or if you have a question, “Just ASK!”
Angela S Kennedy