Excuse me, are you listening?
Monday, October 31, 2016

Dear Readers,

 
I decided to take a walk recently and managed to walk two miles.  It was not on purpose.  It happened because it was a beautiful day.  There was so much to see and it was an emotional time.  I have been thinking about my father a lot lately and it has been interesting but surprisingly not so sad.  My father passed away in 2007 from complications from diabetes.
 
When I used to speak to him, I would always ask him why he did not walk more.  The house in New York on Long Island is in a cul de sac.  I figured that he could get some exercise and walk his way back to getting better.  It did not work.  He never was able to start a walking program because he lost his foot. 
 
I am not sure if walking would have made him get better.  I wonder how many people continue to sit inside without much to do but refuse to take the first steps. I believe that exercise helps to keep us healthy.  It is difficult though and I understand that you must have a certain mindset in order to stick to the plan.  People can also be very mean, especially those who lose weight and are still teased by others. 
 
There have been so many changes going on my life.  Recently, I was cleaning and found a box of my father’s clothing that my sister sent me after his death.  I have some really fabulous tee shirts and jackets that belonged to him.  I could not have asked for the find to come at a better time.  I needed that discovery.
 
So now you can understand how I just so happened to unknowingly walk a couple of miles.  I walked so far that I did not want to walk back.  I was looking at trees, houses, colors, streets, stamped sidewalks, dogs, cats, butterflies, squirrels and then some.
 
I even had a few odd experiences like talking to myself as I crossed over the bridge headed toward Eastern High School.  I found I had a very odd feeling walking in the opposite direction that I would drive on a one way street.  I found that I was more aware and my senses were peaked, I could smell diesel and gas.  I was aware of the sounds and the cars that especially needed a new muffler.
 
While walking, I realized how vulnerable walkers are to the elements, cars and other people.  If you are not careful, you may get run over.  Please be more careful when you are driving.  I saw a lot of people on their cell phones.  Bike riders were also not adhering to the rules either.  You have a responsibility with all of that steel.  
 
I made it from my office to Sparrow Hospital!  My phone was dead by the time I stopped.  I did not have the time.  However, I did know there was no way I was walking back.  
 
I quickly found bus stop 1742 for the Number 1.   I sat on the bench in front of Sparrow Hospital.  I could not believe how close I was to the street.  Maybe it was because I was so used to being in a vehicle.  It was very unnerving so I started to write about how much I love taking the bus.  
 
Capital Area Transportation Authority (CATA)  is an amazing service.  The number 1 had a lot of students riding.  We were on the bus headed downtown. The 1 is the East Grand River/Michigan State University line. It comes often as well.  
 
I made it to the transportation center which is the main hub.  I walked around waiting for the number 3.  Surprisingly, I ran into a lot of people.  One acquaintance from over 20 years ago remembered that I let him and his girlfriend stay with me for a while.  I asked him if he was still an alcoholic and he replied that he was.  He advised me that he would never lie to me because he knew that I would not judge him.  I gave him a hug and left.  His girlfriend had the “how do you know her and who the heck is she?” look on her face.  
 
While walking, I watched the buses pull in their designated spots until they looked like a school of whales.  People exited the bus with their eyes searching for their transfer.  They had a destination to get to.  It reminded me of New York City.  A little girl got off of the bus reading a book from the Capital Area District library.  I could tell by the book cover.  She was so engrossed, however, without looking she bounded down the steps without taking her eyes off the open pages.  I smiled.
 
I found my bus and did not have change.  I put a five dollar bill in the slot and received a credit slip.
 
The bus driver told me I could sit in a seat up front but there was a woman in a wheelchair so I sat in another seat.  I wondered if he was just being cordial or if I looked out of place.
 
There was a lot of people on the bus.  It was so crowded that the woman that was sitting beside me began to complain.  I settled in.
 
The woman in the wheelchair had a string of lit Halloween decorations wrapped around it.  The little pumpkins and spiders twinkled.  I wanted to ask her if the string was battery operated but I did not.  She was checking Facebook.  Her finger was working the keyboard like a professional typist that only used one finger.
 
A man answered his phone in his native language and had a loud and lively conversation with the person on the other end.  He let out a hearty laugh.  I chuckled.  
 
We came to another stop and about ten people filed in.  A group of young skateboarders got on.  They were wearing name brands that I have never heard of.  They were Hispanic and spoke to each other in their native language.  A woman in the back loudly stated that there were three seats in the back.  No one moved and we were on our way. People swayed back and forth.  I thought about Moby Dick.  I actually thought about a lot of things during my ride.  Some random, some profound and some I would rather keep to myself.
 
My stop was early in the route.  I told the driver to have a great day and he smiled and opened the door.  I bounded out of the bus on the way back to my office. I felt free. I felt a release. I felt accomplished.
 
I love when impromptu things happen.  I need to walk more, discover more and do more.  
 
Oprah Winfrey once said, “Lots of people want to ride with you in the limo, but what you want is someone who will take the bus with you when the limo breaks down.”
 
Let go of the limos in your life for a moment and do not allow others to throw you under the bus.  The ride on top could be quite enjoyable when you are looking for clarity.  
 
Love people,
 
 
Rina Risper
 
This was printed in the October 30, 2016 - November 12, 2016
 

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