The Logical Philosopher

Monday, February 19, 2007

Sweet Senses

"Hey mom, the sky is crying!" I heard the preschooler say to his mom.

Like toddler on Christmas Eve as he accidentally discovered Santa wasn't real, the sky was starting to let loose on the pedestrians below. And not wanting to walk home in the tears I lined up behind the child and waited for the next available stop. Time marched on, the rain becoming more of a torrential downpour, drenching all of us. Fortunately the rush hour meant that busses were frequent. Unfortunately that meant busses were packed.

Moving onto the bus I stepped from the rain into the thing I hate the most about riding the bus - the nauseating smell of wet people, pressed together in a moving vehicle. I tried to position myself near a window, anything at least get the impression of some fresh air. It wasn't until I sat down, while trying how to plan not to breath for the next 10 minutes, that I noticed a blind man across from me. He was mumbling to himself, caressing the scratches and scars on his white cane with his finger tips. Head tilted slightly to the side he jerked subtly with each clank and honk of the traffic. It seemed that he was quite tense, perhaps derived from the unpalatable sounds and smells bombarding us from the surrounding environment

At the next stop the driver stopped and picked up several more passengers, the final one, a young woman, stopping and taking a seat next to the blind man. For a moment I couldn't see why his posture changed - his sway slowed and he seemed to breath a little deeper. His fidgeting stopped. His shoulders dropped. It was only once her subtle smell of perfume wafted across the bus aisle, I understood why. Then, gravitating back into a gentle sway I could see his remaining senses pickup the subtle changes in the chi of the bus with the woman next to him.

I sat and tried to imagine the bus without the visual cues. The clacking, beeping & bumping of the bus. The smell of wet clothes and their owners. The bitter taste of smog in the air. I was tense within twenty seconds.

The bus slowed at another stop. “Your stop sir.” the driver said towards the man. As he got up he turned towards her and gave her a small head nod. "Thank you madam." With that he was gone, the tapping of his cane fading away as the bus door closed us remaining passengers in.

Five senses.