I take what is called the R.T everyday, to and from work. It’s an aged transport and believe it or not it still runs on the old commodore 64 system from the 80’s. It’s like a subway or train but without the comfort of a silent, gentle trip. It roars through each stop. You feel like you are right inside the metal wheel itself going around and around. It’s impossible to chat on your blackberry or smart-phone because of the noise. Thank God it’s a short trip from Kennedy to Scarborough.
I left work, cloud and drizzle greeted me on the platform. Nothing noteworthy ever seems to happen as I commute everyday on the R.T and maybe that’s a good thing. I’m not one for surprises and as much as I am a social butterfly, when my day in the city is drawing to a close I prefer my travel home to be uninterrupted and uneventful.
I prefer to put my nose in a good book or plug into my I Pod and stare out the window. I stood, statuesque, on the platform and waited for the next train. It was then he approached me. He showed me the face of his smart phone with an unreadable note on the notepad of his device. I wasn’t really in the mood to entertain him so I waved him and his lady partner off and gazed up at the track. He glared at as if I were Judas and we boarded the train.
Well I gotta tell ya, it was in that next moment that I noticed, hands gestures and quiet communications. It wasn’t at me but to each other. (wait for it, this is where I become the big ass in this moving experience!) They were a hearing impaired couple and I could see that they needed help. (I told you. Bruce in the City graduated to Ass in the R.T.!) The train screeched on and I felt God was staring right down at me – like the beam of light that would shine down on Michael Jackson as he stood in that famous Billy Jean pose. I did not feel like a King of any Pop! I was ashamed of myself. I was over whelmed by the noise on the train and inside my own head.
The couple was unfazed by the roar of the locomotion. I scribbled a message on my “dumb phone” and faced it toward the couple. My little note read, “How can I help you?”. Their smiles were contagious and forgiving. I tried to read his lips and also read his note pad again. Pointing at his phone, I knew he wanted me to call someone – his brother.
Because of the noise and my experience on this train I knew that I would not be able to hear or speak to his fraternal relation. Suddenly, we were not that different. I was deaf and mute from noise pollution. I tried to explain the noise to them by using my hands exploding them out from my ears and mouthed, “It’s too loud! I can’t hear!”, and I covered my ears. As they realized that I was unable to hear from the noise the vibration of the train began to tell a whole new story to them. What were only vibrations to them were deafening noise to me.
I came to the realization of how truly similar and connected we as human beings really are! His brother had not responded to their texts so they needed someone to call and speak directly to him. Our note pads became absolutely the best way for us to communicate what was needed. A bond was formed and more smiles were exchanged.
Once we arrived at Kennedy Station, they passed me their already dialed phone, “Hello.”, the voice on the other end began. “Hi, I’m Bruce. I’m calling for you brother and his wife. They have been trying to text you but you have not been responding to there texts.” I explained. “Oh yes we have been concerned because my phone has been acting up.” he continued. “They wanted me to let you know they are running late but they are still coming for dinner.” As I spoke to him I noticed the couple watching me with relief on their faces. Suddenly our differences became obvious.
I hung up the phone and the couple were making signs and mouthing thank you’s to me and we shared smiles. Although, I felt like thanking them. They had inspired me. The thing is I had heard them and they in return heard me.
I got onto the 34 bus to make my way home and I smiled at the driver. My new friends smiles continued to be contagious so I felt it only right to passed it on.
Let’s never forget to care.
Heal The World