I figured I’d make this a blog post since I ended up texting my poor friend half a novel about it the other day.
Riding along the freeway into Center City. On my way to work. A lot of school buses on the road, full of kids. They’re waving out of the windows. Hoping people driving by would wave back. They annoyed me.
Stupid kids, I thought.. How can they expect everyone to pay attention to them? We’re driving. We’re trying to focus. We have more pressing matters to dwell on as we sit in traffic. Why do you think you’re so special?
As I sat there, inching along, my mind drifted back to when I was that age. When I was in grades school, on my way to a field trip or something. I used to do that, wave at cars passing by. What was my mindset, Little Storm? What did I know about life, and what was I still ignorant to? At what point did it all change? How many times does the world have to crush you for the harsh reality of how small and insignificant you are to set in? Why was I so offended that these waving children had no idea of such a concept? Why don’t they get it? Why do I want them to? I don’t..
I should be glad they don’t “get it.” I should hope they don’t learn these lessons too early. I think I did.
I shocked myself. Me, present-day me. I took a trip back to childhood and came back appalled, asking myself what happened. How could I be so harsh? Little me, my peers, the kids on this bus. I, we, they, just wanted to say hi. To share their joy with random strangers driving by. No entitled sense of HEY YOU NEED TO PAY ATTENTION TO ME RIGHT NOW BECAUSE I’M ME AND I’M WAVING. Just, hey let’s say hi to the people we pass. And what does it matter if they did feel that way? They’re kids. They literally have nothing else to worry about in life.
Wow, how massive this chasm has grown, between me and childhood. Although I don’t feel I was ever well acquainted with the other side, I wasn’t ready to see and acknowledge how much farther I had traveled. But I do see, and I do acknowledge. And I waved back.