Hello dear friends

Who else out there loves observing people? Or chatting to them perhaps? Or even being helpful to people where you see a need?  I love all aspects of being with people: observing them, chatting to them and helping them when I can, but my best place to do this is whilst travelling on buses.

There are many benefits to this mode of transport that one cannot ignore. I’ll tell you why.  One is that I find it very relaxing to sit still and be in the moment. Perhaps it’s because I do not have to do anything else but wait for the bus to deliver me to my destination, that makes it so good.

This may be why I find riding on the bus so relaxing.

This may be why I find riding on the bus so relaxing.

As the bus driver looks after the driving it leaves me free to engage with people, something I can’t do when driving.

I’ve had some wonderful conversations with strangers on buses. Most of them I never see  again but I like to think I’ve somehow touched their lives by our connection … and I know they have certainly touched mine as well. It seems in that moment, that there has been a meeting of spirits between us strangers.

Supermarket queues are another avenue for meeting people. You know the scenario: the line at the checkout is a mile long and you’re bored because you’ve managed to get Miss Turtle the checkout girl. You keep checking the other lines and you kick yourself for not getting on the line manned by Miss Lightening Fingers.

Stuck now, you simply give up and to help pass the time, you start chatting to the person standing next to you. Eventually, you become so engrossed in conversation that you are surprised when Miss Turtle says “how are you today?” because it’s your turn.

Often, there are mothers with a screaming child waiting or elderly gentlemen who confide in you because their wives have died and they just want some female company. You are stuck there together so why not?

I have given parenting advice on checkout queues … and I have consoled people who were upset … and I have also laughed with others as I’ve been stuck in one of those queues.

Indeed … I have met some lovely people and left feeling wonderful for some time afterwards.

But this week, I had my ‘people experience’ not at the checkout, but whilst  riding the bus. It seemed quiet but once I began observing people a lot of things were revealed!

A student with an enormous backpack on his back was slumped down in the seat in front of me. He was having a good old catnap as the bus jogged along: doing assignments until the early hours I suspected by the look of things. Whatever it was, sleep was sorely needed and the bus was the ideal place to get it.

A middle age woman – looking like the most unlikely phone addict – plays with her iPhone all the way. I mentally note that you should never judge a book by its cover.

An older man with white long bushy hair sits in the front seat. He looks bored and begins to read a sign hanging off the rail nearby. From the back he looks harmless enough but on clover inspection, there are shades of the ‘bikkie’ about him.

I wonder if he’s safe here in Queensland as the government has just changed the laws for bikkies (or anyone meeting in groups) making life very difficult for them. No bail for these people! Perhaps that’s why he’s on the bus? Maybe his bike has been confiscated? He may have fallen foul of the law. He sure does look out-of-place on the bus.

By the time I get out and walk to meet my connecting bus, I am amazed at how helpful people can be. One lady has helped three people with bus directions since I arrived at my next bus, including me! A person born to be HELPFUL.

Obliging people are usually happy people and it leads to this.

Obliging people are usually happy people and it leads to this.

It leads me to mull on what makes some people very obliging and others not so? It must have something to do with personality traits perhaps … but I know which I prefer.  And just as I’m thinking this – and writing it in my Poppy Journal – I am surprised by a lady opposite who comments on what I may be writing in my Journal!

The conversation continues all the way to my stop. It turns out that she too, likes to write all kinds of things in a small diary which she carries; she then proceeds to get it out of her bag to show me. It is obvious that she is a people observer and that she too loves to chat to others on the bus. I’ve met a kindred spirit on the bus for heaven’s sake!

As I alight the bus at my stop and walk up the hill to my son’s house, I am able to observe the beauty of the late afternoon as I pass flowering Jacaranda and Poinciana trees. Again I have that sense of relaxation, feeling  in no hurry whatsoever. Time to enjoy the moment and allow the sinking sun to feel warm upon my body as I near the house.

Finally, I go through the gate of the house and I am greeted by my two little munchkins: Isaac (4) and Madeleine (1) full of smiles and love for their poor old puffing grandma who has done the hard yards to get here.

And of course, there in the house is my wonderful daughter-in-law greeting me cheerily,  saying “Hey Tess, how about a cup of tea … I’ll put the kettle on.”

Belinda is one of those obliging people who I mentioned earlier, always wanting to make you feel wonderful … and serve you in whatever capacity she can. A born hairdresser, she has tendered people’s hair with love; listened, mended broken hearts and laughed at jokes as she cut client’s hair. Oh and don’t forget the many cups of tea she’s made for others also.

Now as I bring this post to a close, let me leave you with a snippet of wisdom about being helpful, which I read today on a blog I follow. It reminded me dear friends of what is really important in life … and to think that I learned this from catching a bus … well two actually!

“Ultimately, how far you go in life depends on your willingness to be helpful to the young, respectful to the aged, tender with the hurt, supportive of the striving, and tolerant of those who are weaker or stronger than the majority.  Because we wear many hats throughout the course of our lives, and at some point in your life you will have been all of these people.”  www.marcandangel.com/8-things-extraordinary-people-give-to-others