The insistent Christmas carols piped into procuring malls, the glitter and occasion environment, the elevated barrage of BUYBUYBUY…I get cranky, resentful, impatient of the crowds. Deep down, I do know that a part of this Scroogelike perspective is due to the ache left behind by private losses, bittersweet reminiscences of previous vacation seasons, however this information doesn’t assist.
A couple of days in the past, I used to be overcome by a specific dangerous Scrooge assault. I used to be dashing round within the subway system, loaded down with luggage, overheated in my coat, bored with being pushed round by different equally impatient and overloaded vacation customers.
I nearly misplaced it whereas making an attempt to go away a packed subway automobile at Yonge-Bloor, one of many busiest subway stations within the Toronto system; as an alternative of standing apart and letting passengers off, folks have been crowded across the doorways, jostling to be the primary to get on. I needed to squeeze my approach out and almost had one in every of my luggage ripped within the course of. I used to be livid, drained, impatient, crabby, and I may really feel a rigidity headache build up.
So I made a decision to take a time-out.
Dumping my luggage beside a bench towards the wall on the platform, I sat down, took off my coat, took some lengthy, deep breaths. As my headache eased off, I watched every practice roar into the station, screech to a halt, belch its seething mass of humanity onto the platform, ingest new passengers, go away.
Between trains and after every load of passengers had left the platform, there was a outstanding silence that lasted about thirty seconds earlier than the following practice pulled in. And in that silence, I may hear somebody enjoying Christmas carols on what seemed like a bamboo flute.
The performer was good, the clear tone of his or her music echoing within the station, a small island of tranquility within the vacation season chaos. I felt myself enjoyable, forgetting about my sore toes and stresses.
And when the following load of passengers exploded onto the platform, I started noticing different issues. Just like the completely happy couple holding palms who may barely take their eyes off each other. Just like the tired-looking girl with circles beneath her eyes, clutching a humid tissue; she had clearly been crying. Just like the aged man who walked like somebody a lot youthful, holding a bouquet of flowers, a twinkle in his eye. Just like the gaunt-eyed man together with his palms shoved deep in his pockets and head down, barely conscious of his environment.
Each one in every of these folks had a narrative, folks they cared about, and (I hoped) individuals who cared about them. I instantly felt a rush of affection for these strangers, most of whom I’d by no means see once more, and located myself hoping for each’s security and happiness, and that they might every discover a measure of peace.
Sure, I do know I’ll in all probability return to feeling crabby and impatient within the sizzling and noisy crowds once more, and that Christmas will doubtless by no means be my favorite time of yr.
However subsequent time I’ve a Scrooge second, I’d wish to suppose I’ll keep in mind that flute participant and people folks on the subway platform, and make my solution to a greater place.
Artwork: The Crimson Balloon.