Unspoken, shared understanding is rare, especially between strangers. But I was lucky to have it the other morning. I stepped onto the subway with both sunglasses and iPod on. Yes, I wanted to be left alone. After a few seconds, I recognized a guy whom I used to work with. We know each other but not very well; we’ve had many small talks. He also had an iPod on and was reading a newspaper. We saw each other at the same time and shared a big smile and a wave. C’est tout. Perfect. I didn’t want my quiet morning time trespassed upon, nor did he.
That reminded me of another morning quite a few years ago when I saw a good work friend on the streetcar. There even was an empty seat beside him. And though I liked him immensely, I couldn’t help but feel disappointed because I really wanted to keep reading my amazing book. Plus I was still waking up. He looked tired too and he was plugged into his music. So I sat down beside him and made a suggestion: you keep listening to your music and I’ll keep reading. He gave me a big grin. We shared comfortable silence, getting ready for the day’s onslaught. No surprise that when we had to spend weeks at a client’s in another city, we met before the rest of the team to get our Starbucks together…very quietly.