The normal Los Angeles commuter usually consists of people spending hours in their cars, by themselves, driving five days out of the week to get ten to twenty miles to work. We waste an exorbitant of time alone, miserable, and constantly in a hurry to get nowhere. It amazes me that in Los Angeles people are in such a hurry behind the wheel of a thousand pound bomb, but walking they have no sense of urgency. Maybe it’s the New Yorker in me, but I can’t handle walking behind slow people.
Communing on the Metro you get experiences that you will never get to experience in the comfort of your own car. Like a homeless man sleeping sprawled out over two seats, a father and a child who carry all their possessions with them in a baby carriage, or a woman passing around the same story everyday at the same time saying that she hadn’t eaten today, but will never accept food given to her only money. In Los Angeles, I’ve learned to appreciate what I have and as I people watch on the train, moving in slow motion, you see that society is nothing but a big giant high school full of judgements.
Yesterday, there was a man on the train probably in his 60s, long white beard, balding, and kind of looked like Santa Clause who hadn’t taken a shower since last Christmas. He seemed sad, empty, lost, and smelled a little funny. Everyone that was sitting in a two foot vicinity moved to the opposite end of the car; except me. He watched everyone move away and it made him sadder. He looked at me, and was waiting for the same reaction, but all I did was smile. He smiled back and then got off the train at the next stop.
A few weeks ago there was an African-American man in his 20s that sat next to me on the train. His friend told him that he scared me. So, he looked me straight in the eye and asked if I was scared. I told him that very few things scared me anymore. We had a long conversation about work and our lives. He grew up in LA and worked with children in the inner city and teaching them to play basketball. I guess my point in this post is to listen to everything and everyone around you – smile, talk, and laugh with people you don’t know. Sometimes we are so connected to technology that if the world unplugged for the day I don’t think any of us would really know how to have a normal conversation; how to truly slow down. Society judges people based on appearance. We are brought up in a world where people who look or dress in a certain way are more worthy of our attention.
Sometimes music can be a basis of conversation. Full of understanding our feelings. We never truly understand what people are going through on the outside. Someone could be smiling and laughing, but be a complete and depressed mess on the inside. So, I leave you with this playlist full of fifteen songs that I hope encourage you to look at people a little differently. To slow down in more ways than one. Change does not happen over night. It takes year of practice. Full of critical mistakes, being stressed out, and scars to your beautiful self, but with a little bit of real friends, images of when life was simpler when we were young, and developing close functional relationships, we can all change the way we think, act and do.
Check out the playlist here!