Lately I have been catching the 5:20 bus home in the evening. Leaving my office at 5:00 I walk up to Market Street and then down to the library. I can usually make it to the Library by 5:20. So I get a nice walk and a pleasant ride home. I have really enjoyed the space it gives me to unwind between the demands of the office and home.
A few days ago a young woman was waiting for the bus with me. As we stood there looking up Market Street together she read the words on my lunch bag, "Mental Health and Recovery Services Board. Oh! Do you work there?" After I told her I did, she said that she went to Coleman. I waited a moment. And she began to explain to me each diagnosis she had been given as well as the accompanying medication. Each disease was carefully explained along with the dosage of the particular medication recommended for that illness. One illness after another was identified, discussed, and symptoms explained. She was really getting up a head of steam on her topic and I was clearly way over my head. As far as I knew she could easily have gotten a seat in a medical school.
So in pure self defense and to save myself from an embarrassing question I couldn't hope to answer I asked her, "So what do you like to do?" Just to put this in perspective the whole exchange had lasted about 6 minutes so far. She began to tell me how she was learning to make bracelets that she would weave from floss. The bead work was the most difficult, she explained. I told her I was trying to learn how to draw. "Oh! I love to draw. Art was my favorite subject in school," she said.
As we climbed aboard the bus she told me about her children and how she would draw their portraits. She could draw anything she saw. And for the rest of the ride home we discussed art and the various projects we were both working on. As we talked about art this young woman began to light up. We had found a wonderful common connection. The bus dropped me at Primrose and as I "de-bussed" she said good bye and hoped we might ride together again. I hoped so too.
I was inspired by this brief encounter with a wonderful woman who loves art and despite a host of issues that many would find disabling, she continues to pursue her own muse. And now I am too.