So having promised to myself that I would talk into the oppressive silence and onto a complete stranger, I found myself cattle-prodded into an increasingly crowded train and onto a bout of stage fright.
How hard can this be? Was my morning’s mantra. For a woman who prides herself on her ability to wade into someone’s sphere of being with nary a panicked stall, I was finding it hard even turning the ignition key.
Of all my strategic ideas, of all my plans of attack, the one that felt most natural, the one that instinct gripped the steering wheel with was moaning about the commute. Here I was sharing more physical contact with the woman next to me than I have any person in the last few weeks, and what better way of introducing myself than saying the polite equivalent of Fuck me, is this uncomfortable.
Over the course of the next 3 stops I learned this lady is a project manager for an arts charity that works with adults with learning difficulties, who studied Environmental Sciences and would usually take the bus, but for a meeting across town that morning. I did not, however, learn her name. That would be a concession too far perhaps. Or it just did not occur to me to ask.
In my previous post I suggested that speaking through the veil of non-interaction was a heretic act on the commute, and I still believe that it is, if you initiate with conversation that is out of context. By using the context of the commute itself and the safe assumption that my potential conversant was as uncomfortable as I was, I followed convention.
Perhaps I should test the limits of this convention, strain the boundaries of acceptable introduction to breaking point. Which begs a question:
is Theology understood by living within a status quo, or do you need to step off the beaten track to see the path being walked more clearly?