The city feels brand new. Everyone is now suddenly aware that eye contact and a smile or nod is not just kind, but it is necessary. Humanity cannot be trusted in anyone’s hands but our very own. I have always loved cities for the exchange of personal space and the proximity that reminds us how similar we are. There is connection available for willing takers, and so I walk the streets with my heart on my sleeve. This is what makes me painfully uncool but impossibly compassionate. It is why my daughters can connect with any and everything. It is why it takes us hours to get home and so sometimes there is only time to eat toast for dinner. This is why I have fallen in love, all over again, with not owning a car. By design, I am not too busy, because all this exploring and finding is what I was made for.
Last night we spontaneously hoped on a bus and saw the familiar face of an older man who we see on our morning route to school, IF we are on time. Otherwise we catch a later bus, without him. The girls were delighted to see him out of our usual time and place. This made all four of us laugh, and we finally shook hands and introduced ourselves properly. His name is Michael. He is kind and cooky, aloof and tired. This morning we sat next to a woman from China and Octave needed to know if it was hot or cold in her world. She taught them a few words in Chinese and was smitten with their faces. On our bus ride home we met Isabella, a transgender woman with blue eye shadow, black mary jane’s and a best friend named Avi. She let her guard down when I encouraged my curious daughters to engage with her. All of this beautiful diversity and connecting is nothing new. These were our years, months and weeks prior, but something about the current state of our country and world has put more meaning and depth behind these interactions. Everyone is awake. And all I can say is “YES!” Stay awake Portland, Stay awake America and don’t be afraid of what makes you human, this is what dreams are made of.