The other day, an old man boarded the bus. After paying his fare, he quietly thanked the bus driver for the ticket and sat down in the nearest seat. He shifted to find comfort, then crossed his hands on his cane for support. He didn’t look around, he didn’t say a word. He looked straight ahead, appearing content to stay alone in his own little world.
I wanted to get inside. I wanted to know what he was thinking about his surroundings, about his life. I wanted to know if he was living in the moment or if he was relishing in the past or if he was looking forward to the end. Was he thinking about how Portland used to look when he first moved here 60 years ago? Was he thinking about how he used to fill up his own car with $2 and drive the countryside, not spend $2 for a bus ride to the nearest supermarket, or $2 for a half gallon of gas? Was he thinking about the weather, hoping for the next sunny day?
Old men have always intrigued me in this way. They seem content to stay quiet, to only speak if spoken to, to not worry about their clothes matching and the like. They seem to know how people work, how life works. They aren’t surprised. They aren’t rushed. They aren’t worried. They go about their day in their own unique way.
I want that.