Wednesday, December 12, 2012

The Singing Boy on the Train

While travelling on the train recently I was sitting only a few seats away from someone who was obviously quite mentally handicapped. They were being taken into the city by what looked like their mother, maybe to go shopping or eat, I don’t know. They had their phone out and were playing music through the speakers instead of earphones and normally that’d be an annoying thing to do but they were singing along with it. They weren’t being some obnoxious rebellious teenager who liked to crank their music to the ear damaging points on their earphones so the whole carriage could hear, they weren’t being deliberately disruptive, they just played music that was audible and sung along. They were just having fun.

Instead of getting annoyed at this guy for singing along shamelessly and off key to music I personally think is terrible, like Justin Bieber, I found it heart warming. He was so uninhibited and openly engaging in something that made him happy without worrying about how an entire carriage worth of train passengers were obviously judging him. I wasn’t laughing at him but with him.

As I looked around I could see the divide in the opinions of the train passengers. There were those who glared and tried their best to ignore him and thought of him as nothing but an annoyance, or a distraction that should go away. Then there were those who mirrored his happiness and took joy from seeing someone so unashamedly gleeful. People bobbed their heads in time with the singing.

It’s interesting to see how when presented with a situation outside of the norm where someone who isn’t “normal” doing something “weird” people react. It says a lot about their attitudes towards life. I personally think the guy was cool. He was not shackled down by what other people think of feel about him and that is a brilliant example of how to live life. Sure, I never want to be some random singing on a train to Justin Bieber, but I admire his carefree attitude.

But maybe we should sing on trains. Not necessarily literally, though a group karaoke session on the 5pm train ride home would make the whole experience a lot more fun and help us feel a sense of community and togetherness instead of being rigid individuals placed near, but distinctly apart, from our fellow humans. If something out there makes you happy and isn’t there to hurt other people but you worry that complete strangers might judge you then  maybe that’s cause enough to do it. Because maybe people will enjoy it in a good way.

That’s how I want to live.

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