To the guy stamping my bus ticket.
We all get asked at some point what we want to become once we grow up. And we answer “astronaut”, “firefighter”, “someone rich”, “someone famous”, “author” or “someone with my own garden where I can grow my favorite vegetable”. I mean, whatever makes you happy. But who would say “the person stamping tickets in a rustic bus in a post-Soviet country”? Well maybe this guy stamping my ticket right now. Who knows? Who am I to judge?
Actually, it’s more challenging and surprising than it seems. He is there, cramming his way through the crowd. Always there, known to everyone who regularly takes this route. It’s the same price for everyone, same ticket every time. There is comfort in it.
He knows every bump in the street. Every crossing and just 5 seconds later, he knows where to hold on because the bus is taking a massive bump in the road. A friendly tap on the back by the guy who is coming back from the pub. A little smile from the woman who just finished her shift.
We are all here in the same boat, bus in this case. It’s familiar faces and new ones. Maybe he is looking around, seeing the same faces with different expressions. He is the one who can detect mood swings. Bad day at work? He can probably tell the difference. Happy occasion? He will know it. But you won’t. That’s the difference. He will even know when you are new to this bus line.
So when I am looking around, looking at him, I cannot help but feel foolish about my estimations. I can write whatever I want but I won’t come close to what he knows.
So sit down, guy stamping my ticket. It would be my honour to have a beer with you. Share your insights, your knowledge, your experience and understanding. Or don’t. Who am I to expect anything or judge? But maybe, just maybe, I will learn something. Even from your silence. So have a drink with me.
And all I am left with, is to say,