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Biker Music. Wednesday March 4, 2015

Every weekday morning I walk my twelve year old daughter down the road to catch the school bus. I really enjoy the time with her (as long as we haven't left too late and are hurried) as we can have some interesting conversations on the way. I also enjoy the interactions with the people we tend to meet every day.

Standing at the bus stop at the same time every morning means that you often see the same vehicles passing. You get to know some of them. It gets to the point where the more friendly drivers will wave as they go past.

The biker doesn't wave, but he smiles. He rides a really big motorbike, one with panniers at the side to make it even burlier. The bike is black as liquorice and its engine sounds like the purr of a cream sated tiger. Over the top of this morning rumble can clearly be heard the sound of the biker's chosen music. Not heavy metal, or rock or rap; this biker listens to mellow jazz and big band swing as he rides to work every day. You can hear the happy sound coming down the street. It makes us smile at him and he smiles back at us; it's a point of connection.

Then there's the small child in her ridiculously oversized school blazer (bought to have lots of room to grow into); we meet at the crossing on my way back. A very smartly dressed older lady with immaculate silver hair catches one particular bus into Cambridge where she works for the university. We often stop for a chat while she waits for her bus.

Another girl in a stripy purple blazer, always accompanied by mum or dad, got a puppy at Christmas. I have no idea of the names of any of the humans, but the little Westie is Lily, and she recognises me now and always wants to say hello. Oh, and there's Jack at the next bus stop, nearest our house; we go to the same church and so that's another "hello, how are you, lovely day isn't it?"

So the morning walk to the bus stop and back is punctuated by small points of human contact. If I don't see any of them for a couple of days I miss them. When I was ill for a week recently and my husband did the bus stop walk, he was asked where I was. If we don't get our morning snippet of jazz it's a loss to the day.

None of these points of contact are very profound, I know none of these people intimately, but they make my day brighter.
I like to think that I make their day brighter too. And that's what it's all about really, isn't it?

A Moodscope member.

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The Entertrainer Wed, Mar 4th 2015 @ 7:42am

Dear Mary, you have such a strong, sensory-rich signature story style.... (and that was enough Sssses to keep even Kaa happy). I think these points of contact are very profound - they are moments of truth that collectively transform a day.
I remember some clever consultant telling me about the Japanese concept of Kaizen. This was credited with the difference in production between identical factories in the East and the West. What was the difference? Where the Western plants would clean the floor twice a day, their Eastern partners would clean it four times a day. In the end, there were hundreds of tiny differences - not profound in themselves, but collectively dramatic. I love your writing... and your Biker!

Penny Wed, Mar 4th 2015 @ 7:59am

Your so right Mary. I used to live in a village and used to regularly see the same people when I walked the dog and we would nod and say hello, occasionally say a little more. Now I have moved into the town I never seem to see the same people twice, possibly as I have yet to get into a regular dog walking routine or that there are so many options for walkers to use. I look out every time me and Ember go for a walk hoping to make a connection but it has not really happened yet and I miss it.

Rupert Wed, Mar 4th 2015 @ 8:25am

I agree with you Mary - in a way isn't it all about being human and maintaining links with other human beings however fleeting they are? My thought for the day! Rupert

Hopeful One Wed, Mar 4th 2015 @ 8:29am

Hi Mary - a lovely blog ,so evocative.As you have discovered Happiness is a by product of the things we do ,see,hear ,feel. I one sets out with the aim of finding happiness it will always elude one. I also road testing another yardstick . If am not depressed than can I claim that by definition I must be happy?

Anonymous Wed, Mar 4th 2015 @ 9:09am

Great thought for the day Rupert! It is often the fleeting moments with a stranger that can bring the highlights of the day,
Karen :)

Anonymous Wed, Mar 4th 2015 @ 9:14am

Spot on, Mary! I love these moments - just seconds mostly, where someone smiles back, or replies to my 'Mawnin'!
Having a dog is handy for these fleeting hellos and cheerios- and many of these snippets have developed into friendships. A really nice lady stopped to see if she coud help me get Toby out of the undergrowth...he came out after fifteen minutes...that was seven years ago and now Janet and I are best friends. How lucky are we? Great post Mary....and I am glad you're well enough to do the bus stop walk - a nice feeling to know you were missed when your husband went instead!
Karen x

Anonymous Wed, Mar 4th 2015 @ 11:28am

Excellent - a delightful tale that demonstrates we are social beings and it's being involved that keeps us 'belonging'. This needs to be pinned up by anyone who finds leaving the house difficult when low. Thank you Mary :) . Also with grim media and TV storylines a brilliant reminder that most people are good.

Mary Blackhurst Hill Wed, Mar 4th 2015 @ 2:14pm

The "no man is an island" thing, isn't it? Spot on, Rupert.

Mary Blackhurst Hill Wed, Mar 4th 2015 @ 2:16pm

Hello Penny, I find having a routine and a regular route really helps, as we humans are nearly all creatures of habit. I hope you and Ember find some congenial company soon.

Anonymous Wed, Mar 4th 2015 @ 2:31pm

You are such a wonderful writer Mary. I could practically see the bike, hear the jazz. I loved the post today. Thank you for making my morning brighter.

Anonymous Wed, Mar 4th 2015 @ 7:28pm

Driving to work today I was struck by all the solitary people in cars and lorries, and how our lives have become collectvely so isolated - I think those cumulative small human interactions are necessary for our (mental) health, but almost factored out of modern life - cars, online shopping, remote/home working, time pressure everywhere....Not a helpful culture for good mental health...

Anonymous Thu, Mar 5th 2015 @ 3:50pm

as another writer wrote, you do have a signature style, Mary. A distinctive voice that is warm and kind. I am very drawn to it. A few lines into each of your pieces and I know I'm in your company and feel very comforted and befriended. You are also a very good writer... I'd love to be in touch with you personally, if you are at all interested. No problem if not. I'm or my web-site - Keep on writing, Mary and being your lovely self in words on a screen and, I imagine, in living reality, too. All best, Tilda

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