Companionship and Commuting


What we pay attention to goes a long way towards what we can be thankful for. What if complaining was framed as being ungrateful for that moment? There are a few aphorisms that apply here, “Everything is relative,” “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder,” “It’s all a matter of perspective.”

This morning I was momentarily annoyed with my position on the T. I had a seat, but I was sitting between two people, and the man next to me was much larger than myself so was taking up more room. He wasn’t by any means taking up more space than he should have been, but he was just there, and so was the lady to my right- whose Pantene conditioner was too noticeable for my comfort.

Almost as soon as I thought this though, I realized that I was so lucky to be in a seat, knitting, on a not too crowded train and on track to get to work on time. How dare I complain? Once this mindset had entered my early morning awareness I started to appreciate the people next to me. How funny, I thought, that people sit smashed together, in silence, trying not to squirm too much. I had considerate neighbors, and though we didn’t speak, I felt a companionship with them, a communion in our common trajectories. We all contributed to our space with our consideration, and shared 45 minutes of companionable calm. In most understandings, the term “companionship” is reserved for longer term arrangements, for relationships that are exclusive and serious. No reason though, no reason why companionship can’t be fleeting, yet felt. It was a gift really, to feel like a part of the larger goings on in the city just by meeting elbows with strangers.

May we all find more ways to be thankful in this holiday season and beyond! If there are any ways in which you’ve shifted perspective towards the positive I’d love to hear about it.