Written on the train this morning.
Tonight I will be busy so I have to write fast. I am on the G train going from Park Slope to Williamsburg, a 30 minute ride. Why stare idly at people when I can do my work.
I was on the train over a month ago and I saw a friend of a friend. I will call him Adam Greenberg. Adam Greenberg is an Artist and a teacher. At one point after our initial meeting, he called me to ask me out on a date to dinner, in a mature and civilized way I was not completely used to. I was in a self-destructive period of my life, so I said no. He didn’t understand why so he politely asked why. To this day I am not sure if he understood my long-winded explanation of not being ready to date. I think a part of it was that I couldn’t see us together, I was in the dark.
When I saw him on the train, I wasn’t sure if I should say hi. Things might still be weird. I have seen him several times at our mutual friend’s house but usually husbands and wives are around. They create a buffer for the weird. Celestine Prophecy says, if you recognize someone, you have to stop to talk to them. One of you has a message for another. (I said this in another entry, but the train reminded me again).
We started chatting. No only were we on the same train but we were going to a party on the same street and the destination was far away from each of our respective houses. This was a flag for me, brace yourself for the message. He told me that he has a long commute to teach so he has to do his art on the train. He had a notebook and it was filled with interesting artwork. He flipped through, this was quality train work. I walked away after our pleasant ride and walk and chat forgetting about any message. I didn’t know it was my lesson at the time but as I stepped on the train this morning, the message was loud in my head “Work on the train, this is your only time” and then the face of Adam Greenberg.
It might be obvious for most people, use the time you have. But if I didn’t get that message, I would get on the train and let my mind wander into oblivion. Its simple things in life that are harder to understand than complicated. A PhD mathematician is miserable while the janitor is happy. All that complicated knowledge is unused if the simple lessons of “live and love” are unlearned.
So maybe Adam Greenberg didn’t teach me anything I didn’t know but he reminded me at the right place and the right time. I am trying to keep my ears and eyes open these days. Yesterday, I broke my rule. I saw a girl I knew at the Food Coop. She was a friend of a friend who I met at a party. I instantly had a soft spot for this girl. She told me she was not photogenic when we were taking pictures, so I took some photos of her to try to help her with her problem. I even remembered to email her the photos with a nice note. I got no reply. Maye she didn’t like the photos. I bumped into her again and again and it was uncomfortable for some reason.
Last night I saw that she saw me and instantly looked away, pretending to look the beans. Maybe she doesn’t like me. Maybe she was not in a stop and chat mood. Either way, I didn’t want to make the first move, thus breaking my own rule. I said to myself, she must not have a message for me, I will shop in peace. The funny thing was, everywhere in the Coop that I went, she was there. She saw me out of the corner of her eyes by the organic chicken, the bulk goods and then in the main aisle. I pretended to look the other way too. The message was lost.
BH (before husband), there was another young gent. I went on a few dates with him. He was a spiritual guy but our short relationship was not. I never told him how I felt and he never told me how he felt. These are spiritual basics and both of us did not follow the rules. It ended fast and without any seeming remorse. Then, I started bumping into him. Everywhere. On the street, dancing on a couch in some random bar that I’ve never been to before or since, the train, middle of the city. He got married and I even bumped into his wife while being half-naked in the African dance changing room– pretty, pretty weird. There were constant reminders. I have ended much longer relationships before, only never to see the person again.
Finally during yet another bump in, I told him my rule. It was forced but I didn’t know what else to do and being “spiritual” I thought he would understand. I said, “You know we bump into each other a lot, do you think there is a reason for that?” He got uncomfortable, I got more uncomfortable. He said he didn’t know. This interaction made me doubt my rule. Maybe it doesn’t work. Only now writing, I realize, he did not have a message for me, I had a message for him. My message was simple, I was sorry. I was sorry that I gave him no explanation even if I imagined that he did not need one. I did not do my part. I told Adam why but I didn’t tell this guy. I didn’t say anything. I just disappeared. He got married and I felt no need to say anything, but there was a need, the bump ins were proving it. Human interaction is to be respected. Feelings are to be considered. I can not save people from their feelings but I can do my part by being conscious and using my voice.
When a talking baby starts screaming for something, the parents are advised to say “Use your voice!” This is something to help the child find the words for their emotion and to ask for what they need effectively. Maybe adults should do the same. Too often we act on our emotions without using our words. If I used my voice at the coop and followed the rules that I laid out, maybe the girl and I would break our uncomfortable spell and learn something in the process. As for the sorry, it’s never too late to say I am sorry.