A long, long time ago I posted random things about me. I need to update that list. But that’s an aside thought. On that list is a fact so very true to this day: I am an old man magnet; many old men just walk up to me and start talking. I need to add another item to that list: people with cognitive disabilities will also walk up to me/sit beside me and start talking.

Tonight on the bus ride home, I was in a snarky mood. Some days my work day is less than satisfactory and letting go is more challenging than others. As I was lost in my own thoughts, I barely paid attention to the person who sat beside me until that person started talking to me. First words, “I like your outfit.” So I responded with a ‘thank you’ (because that’s what my mom taught me: to be polite), and that opened the door to a whole conversation (mostly one-sided): about being at St. Vincent de Paul and watching a woman buy green velvet curtains and how that woman would make them into pants, and this lady wondered if the pants could be washed or if they must be dry cleaned. She gave me two recipes (verbally) she thought I would like. And more.

In my mind, using my inside voice, I whined. I wondered ‘why me’. I wondered what would make her leave me alone (without, mind you, me causing her pain or being a horrible person), and thoughts that were not the most complimentary.

As I’m having this whole internal dialogue, the guy on the other side of me leaned over and said, “Don’t you just wish she’d shut up?”.  What can I say? I felt slapped up the side of the head; mom’s voice of ‘smarten up’ ringing in my head. I turned to this guy and responded very quietly, “It takes nothing to be nice.”

I wished the lady a lovely evening and said goodbye.

I’m grateful for the guy on the other side of me. I really needed to be reminded that lovingkindness is internal as well as external. But I will be honest too. In that short walk from the stop to my home, I felt ashamed at all those thoughts I had in my head. I will be working on that inside voice a bit.