If any of you reading this know me at all, you would know that I am a woman who craves safety and security. I would not necessarily say that I am loud and proud about that, but I like knowing my surroundings. I like knowing the people in my surroundings, and I also like to feel as though my odds in that situation are high that I will be safe after the experience. You can call it what it is, I'm a 23 year old female born with adoring parents who have instilled in my mind that I am precious, and that I need to remain safe at all times. They may also have instilled some false fear that everything, and everyone out in the "real world" is out to get me, or hurt me so I need to carry mace at all times... I am aware that this is only true to an extent right? Or is that just an ideology I possess? That in this world, most people are good. Most people want to help others, not hurt others. Most people don't like coming off creepy, they want to be heard, and understood.
For spring term, I decided it was best to keep money in my pocket and take the Max to school Monday through Thursday. Today is Thursday of Week 1 at Portland State which means I have had 3 full days of my Max trips. Oh the stories I have cooking deep down inside me, about these people that just want to be understood, and desire to be known! How desperately I want to be a writer and just study these people on the Max. Businessman on their way to work, students on their way to school, children going to the zoo with their mom. Ragged clothes, old sneakers, cigarette smell in the air, people with their i-pods which says "please do not disturb me." I have tried that strategy by the way, it doesn't really work. People still ask me to sign petitions, or ask me about the book I'm reading and if I saw the movie already (The Hunger Games). That is usually the opening line someone uses, "Is that book good," and before I know it my hopes of getting through a chapter on my way to school have been erased because I am now in a full blown conversation with a stranger.
The writing material I gain from my Tri-Met experiences are so rich though. Yes there are times of discomfort during my travels, but overall I don't think my safety is in that high of question. As my experiences grow, I would like to share with you some of my encounters, because these people just need to be able to share their lives, and I am an easy target. Whether it is my regular clothes, my travel mug full of coffee, my backpack screaming my status as a student, or my high need for hygiene (which trust me, lacks on the Max), people just know that if they talk to me I will listen. I am still trying to place how it is the Lord can use me in this time as well. Is it more important that I keep to myself and try to ignore others, or do I listen when people talk to me? I know for certain I am terrible at ignoring people, and I am also the world's worst liar. People ask me almost everyday 3 things: 1) Is my book good? 2) Where am I headed? 3) Where do I work? People need a reason to talk to you that explains 1. People want to know what you do with your life and why, that explains 2. And lastly people want to know what you spend your time doing, and how you make a life from that, that explains 3. If you ask me these questions I will tell you the truth. It may be that I need to work on fabricating number 3 for my own safety, but overall these people mean no harm. So if you take the Tri-Met in Portland, maybe all these people want is someone to listen to them, so try it. I didn't say I was perfect at it either, but I am trying to keep an open mind, as I explore this world of public transportation.
Love and Listening