Didn't mean to leave my downer of a post up for so long - I hate greeting people with a negative, though truly, if I look back on my last several posts, I'm not a bundle of fun these days, it seems. We've had a niiiice stomach flu, though, and ugh, I'm sick of vomit now, and are gearing up for Miss Pumpkinpie's birthday and so on, so yeah, I left it.
But this morning, I saw something and thought, that's better. So I'm pushing the darkness down the page with a little subway note that made me happy about people again.
When I got on the subway this morning to go to work, it was unusually crowded for early on Saturday. A young man picked his bag up off the seat next to him to let me sit, and I did. As we rode, I noticed pretty quickly the scene being played out in the car.
In a corner seat sat another young man, and beside/in front of him sat an older man, ranting. All around that pair and sprinkled along the car were a group of teens that were clearly friends and traveling together, but sitting where they found space. As the older man ranted, the younger man appeared impassive, even seemed to be listening politely with occasional tiny nods. The others were cracking up, watching their friend cornered by someone he didn't know and who was clearly a bit off.
The older man stopped talking at one point and looked down, away from the man in the corner, who then let a little silent chuckle escape, joining in his friends' amusement at his predicament for a moment. The man turned back to him, resuming his tirade, and his face snapped back into polite listening mode.
It was increasingly clear that this had been going on for a while, and that this young man in the corner was treating this older, obviously strange man with a strong measure of respect and patience.
We expect teenagers to be the opposite, to mock someone like this, based on all that we hear about bullies and group dynamics among teens. We expect rudeness, especially from someone who is with a large group of friends, who would give him fine herd backup. We expect attitude, especially from a young man of his outward appearance, a young black man with big diamonds in his ears and hip hop spilling from the phone in his lap.
But that was not what I saw this morning at all.
How nice to have your faith in people restored by a teenager.
How hopeful for the future.