Thursday, January 11, 2007

Riding the train again

After last night's experience on the train I decided to people watch again and see what I'd see.

I saw two women who worked at Wells Fargo. I knew this because they wore shirts with the bank logo on them. The amusing thing was that if someone had introduced these women to me as working in a bank I would have said, "Oh yeah. I can see that." They just had that look.

My favorite person from tonight was a black woman I saw reading a Bible. Wearing mostly denim, she was standing up while simultaneously hunched over her book with a black pen in one hand, circling passages as she read. Between the scarf wrapped up to her nose and the bandanna pulled low she peered out intently at the words.

Most other people on the train were tired. At best, they were slouched in their seats, absently staring out the windows. Others even attempted to sleep despite the bumpy ride. In contrast, this woman was awake and focused.

The Bible wasn't a new acquisition. It was well studied and the hours of attention were apparent by the worn cover and faded red edges. A bill envelope and a few notes scribbled on pieces of paper jutted out past the edges of pages. Other things appeared to be stuffed inside, although I couldn't tell what exactly.

It was apparent the book served as more than just a source of personal study and inspiration: it was always with her. Much like some people carry a planner or cell phone, this woman had her Bible. It was used. It was lived in. It was the center of who she was and how she functioned.

There's something to be learned from that.

Eventually her stop came. She looked up from between her scarf and bandanna, closed her Bible, gathered her things and walked off into the snow.