PictureStranger on the Atlanta streets in the summer of '74, www.archives.org
I leave my office in downtown Atlanta around 4:30 p.m. each day and, depending on my timing, I sometimes get caught behind a long line of city buses right by the state capital at 4:42 p.m. It happened today. There I was, happily cruising through the streets, humming along to my favorite string band and tapping the wheel, living like the happy-go-lucky fool in a romantic comedy. Then, just like in those so-called romance tales, I take a left and the plot thickens. My body sinks as I realize the frustration that lies ahead. BUSES - the nemesis of any inner city motorist.

I wait impatiently as the crowds dilly dally their way onto the vehicular kryptonite to my downtown travels. Finally, once everybody is seated and my frustration has run out after missing the green light twice, the bus driver slowly pulls away, giving me the gap to freedom and the freeway. 

This happened a few days in a row one week. Around the third day, I got over my first world problems and turned my attention to the bus passengers. I quickly began to realize that they too had been participating in this roadside ritual all week. 

Then I started recognizing faces. 

One man in particular caught my attention, for obvious reasons. He wore dark sunglasses and was clutching the harness of a beautiful black labrador retriever, my favorite breed. I watched him patiently wait for the bus to pull up and then tentatively follow his guide dog to the edge of the curb. He felt for the edge and slowly stepped down and through the buses open doors. 

I saw him on the crosswalk the next day. 

I passed him as he spoke to other passengers on the corner bus stop the next Monday.

I began to look for his presence on this routine street. I saw him today, smiling, as a lady knelt down to give his guiding friend some well-deserved scratches behind the ears. Seeing his regular face, even though he is but a stranger, brings a smile to my face and comfort to my soul as I launch into my hour commute home from work.

I can think back to a lot of people like this in my life: people I never knew but I grew accustomed to their reliable presence day in and day out. There was "Dancing Kid" who passed time waiting for the school bus each morning by dancing to the lively tunes only he could hear. "Sweeping Lady," who lived in a house beneath towering oak trees, spent her mornings ridding the fallen leaves from her home's driveway, no matter how long it took her. On Saturdays, "Old Dog" likes to sleep in the sun on a wide porch somewhere between here and Athens. 

Over time, I made connections to these people of my routines to the point where my mornings felt less complete if I missed seeing "Dancing Kid" do his trademark move. In college, I would see the same faces between classes so often and regularly that their strange faces became so familiar, I would forget we didn't actually know each other, even to the point of congratulating someone for finally getting their cast off. High five, strange kid! Oh, and how did that Spanish exam you were studying for go this morning? 

Creepy? Probably. But if there is a stranger out there that crosses my path and smiles when they see me swear at the bus line every day, I'm okay with that.
 


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    “When you are a Bear of Very Little Brain, and you Think of Things, you find sometimes that a Thing which seemed very Thingish inside you is quite different when it gets out into the open and has other people looking at it.”

    -A.A. Milne

    About Amanda

    I just love Winnie-the-Pooh quotes. A.A. Milne had an incredible way of capturing an exact feeling or thought so universal and complex and convey it in the simplest of terms in the voice of a humble Bear. When I decided to start a blog, Pooh's words popped into my head and expressed the exact base of my worries behind starting a personal blog: My Thingish Things won't make any sense to other people! But oh well. Here goes nothing.

    I intend for this blog to be where I share my thoughts, opinions and inspirations in a casual personal voice. For a more professional take on who I am and where I want to go in life, check out my online portfolio. You won't find as many recipes, crafts, and sarcastic remarks about life there, but it is a good portrayal of me too.

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