Moving forward

by Danica

Something happened today that made me smile for “no apparent reason” long afterwards, and it’s made me realise that there’s more sunlight in my life than I had originally thought. So I want to share =)

I walked up the platform at Parramatta station to find a place to sit while I waited for the next train that would stop at Mount Druitt. I had to “walk down” because I wanted to get on the carriage that would stop right in front of the steps, and I wanted to sit because I had to wait a long 15 minutes. I found a place to sit, but I was hesitant because it was between a young man and a much older gentleman, and I would’ve preferred to have the whole bench to myself. Even so, I plopped my butt down between them because I didn’t know whether either of them would get on the next train or my train (the next train went Richmond way), and I didn’t want my legs to tire.

So I sat and waited for my train, listening to my iPod, with the volume high enough so I could ignore people talking around me, but low enough so if someone did start talking to me, I’d hear them. And also, I needed to be able to hear the station people on the loudspeakers. Then, out of nowhere (I make it sound so dramatic xP), the young man next to me asks whether I go to uni, while pointing at the Australasian Business Statistics: University of Western Sydney Edition textbook that sat in my lap. I answered with a timid, “Yeah,” and he asked whether I was studying Business. Once again, but with a little bit more confidence, I replied, “Yeah, I do.”

The young man then went on to ask me whether I was doing an MBA, but since I still had my headphones in my ears, I thought he said “NBA”, which made me wonder why he was suddenly talking about basketball. So I pulled out the headphone in the ear nearest to the guy, and said, “What?” How rude of me. He asked again, and since I had no idea what it was, he explained that he was doing a Masters of Business Administration. I wasn’t doing that, so I said, “No,” and told him I was doing a Bachelor of Business and Commerce. I asked if he was an international student, noticing that he had an American accent, and he confirmed my suspicion, mentioning that he was from the U.S.

I can’t remember the details of our conversation that followed, but we chatted about how he was staying in Sydney West with a host family while he was doing his Masters here, that I lived in Sydney West, and that we’d be catching the same train.

Eventually, our train arrived, so we boarded together and found an empty 3 seater. So we sat together and chatted some more. He asked me a little about myself, and though I’m not very talkative, especially to people I don’t know very well, I tried as best as I could to give him adequate answers, as well as keep the conversation going by asking him about himself. I won’t go into detail, but he was very friendly and I found out a great deal about him, more than I know about any one person that I’ve met at uni this semester.

He went into a little rant about how in public situations in Sydney (and even back home), such as a train station packed with “thousands of people”, no one will say a word to each other. It seemed to frustrate him that people could be in a crowd and not care about the story of the person in front of or beside them. The fact that people could be so defensive when at first spoken to by a complete stranger slightly amused him. He guessed that when he began speaking to me, thoughts like Why on earth is this guy talking to me? ran through my mind. He even used the man sitting in front of us as an example, saying that, for all we know, this man could be a murderer, and we’d have no clue, because we never chose to speak to him.

Eventually, I decided to ask him his name, since it didn’t seem right that I converse this much with a total stranger. So yes, I know his name. He said my name was nice (I’ve heard that comment more than you think), and mentioned that back home, he knew a girl named Danica, but she likes it to be pronounced the way that I don’t like it being pronounced.

He then played a trick on me. More like, we played a game. At least, he called it a game. He bet that if I won the game, he would leave me alone, go to the lower level of the carriage and never speak to me again. But if I lost, he would stay put and I’d have to endure his boring self. To be perfectly honest, I didn’t find him boring at all. I was actually enjoying talking to him. I had been having a bad week-and-a-half and talking to this new acquaintance was keeping unnecessary baggage off my back (thanks to Mhe for the analogy XD). After he told me the rules of the game, I figured I’d win easy, but I didn’t want to stop talking to him. Turns out, there was a trick to the game, and I lost easily. He won, he stayed.

Talking, talking, talking (and a bit of what I suspected as flirting, though I wouldn’t know ’cause I’m oblivious to those kinds of things)… and the train started pulling in to Mt Druitt station. “Well, this is my stop,” I sighed, so he stood up to allow me to get out of the seat, saying, “Well, this was emotional,” as if to imply that we had a deep and meaningful conversation. I laughed politely and said, “It was nice to meet you,” and I can’t actually remember – I was too focused on getting out of the carriage in front of the steps – if he said it was “nice to meet you, too.” Well, I know he said something about probably not seeing me again, so I replied with, “I might see you around at uni, though.” Unfortunately, he goes to uni at the Westmead campus.

My reason for sharing this little anecdote is this: 2009 is the year of Upgrade for Generation Fresh, the most awesomest youth group around (and not a hint of bias =P), and I have yet to figure out what aspects of my life need to be upgraded. After a teaching that Cat gave on the theme, I had decided that for me, 2009 would be about moving forward, never looking back except to learn from my mistakes, and letting go of the unnecessary to take hold of the essentials. But I’ve barely done this.

Talking with this “stranger” really brightened my day, and made me realise that I hadn’t moved forward an inch. I wasn’t even facing the right way. I have to turn around and make an effort to lift up my leg, place my foot on the ground in front of the other, and take the first step towards Danica version.09.

I’m going to keep moving forward.

– –

You are never here
    you refuse me
       refusing to see me
         to hear me

to understand
that all I want
is your understanding.

From misunderstanding to understand by Will S. as VertigoArt