By Day, The Lollipop Man…

…by night…!?

Do you ever walk past someone and, in a fit of complete boredom and perhaps curiosity, you make up a story about them?

See, I walked past a lollipop man last week (the crossing guard, who holds up the stop sign near a school crossing and blows a whistle to let you cross), and to be polite I smiled and said hi. His expression didn’t change, and he didn’t say hi back.

The thing is, a few months back I walked past the same lollipop man, at the same crossing, at the same time of the day, and he would smile warmly and say hi back at me.

Yesterday I walked past that lollipop man, and as he stepped out into the road with his stop sign to blow the whistle, he smiled at a student who goes to the school he guards the crossing for (I’m obviously not in uniform). I assumed he didn’t smile at familiar faces, because he would definitely remember me because recently I’ve been crossing there rather often.

Today, as I stood at the curb waiting for him to step out, I saw my bus come up. The crossing is around 30 meters away from the bus stop, and as I saw the bus draw up and he had to let it pass, I sighed to myself. He said to me with a smile, “is that your bus? You better run for it!”

I made the bus, just. As I sat down on the bus, slightly out of breath (dude, I am so unfit), I thought about his smile and words to me.

He obviously realized that I’m going to be showing up a lot more, so was he trying to make conversation in order to have a good reason to smile and say hi the next time I cross at his crossing? But he should remember me from me crossing a few months back, and even if I didn’t show up for a bit, I smiled at him and said hi when I crossed, so I took the initiative to bridge the hiatus right?

And it wasn’t that he didn’t say hi to anyone anymore; he did to the student.

So I made up a small story about why he didn’t say hi to me at first.

Maybe he has another job, and in that job he had come across Asian kids who wronged him somehow, or gave him an impression of untrustworthy Asian kids – look, I’m not being racist against him or against Asians, but Asians are just as likely to hold up a 7/11 as a white kid or a curry kid or whatever, but I’m Asian so it’s my weird logic – and he was so taken by this impression that he wouldn’t even smile at another Asian. I wouldn’t blame him – if an Asian guy with a, say, mohawk beat me up or something, I would not be able to really look at another Asian guy with a mohawk.

OR he used to smile and say hi to an Asian kid and then that Asian kid got into some accident or something bad, and everytime he sees an Asian kid, he remembers that other Asian kid and feels sad. He was just wary of being attached to another Asian kid, no matter how fleeting their “conversation” are.

But I mean, it’s rather interesting what our mind makes up about another stranger based on ONE action that they do. For another example, I was in the bathroom at the shopping center fixing my hair (oh hush) and as I walked into the bathroom, I immediately went to the sinks and got out my hairwax, and started fixing my hair in the mirror. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw a lady who was there already making an action which I immediately knew was her stopping herself from crying and quickly wiping away tears. I decided not to suddenly walk out after obviously noticing she was just crying, because it would make her feel slightly worse that other people are avoiding her and that it was obvious she was upset, but I snuck another look at her through the mirror. She was taking deep breaths to calm herself, and if she’d looked my way I was going to give her a reassuring smile, but she quickly sniffed and wiped her cheeks, then walked out.

As far as my imagination could go, she could have just murdered someone and felt remorse. I could have gone on to imagine something Hollywood like her husband cheated on her, and he has a large trust-fund or something. Or maybe she was actually a spy (HOMG I WAS GONNA SMILE AT A SPY) and her husband doesn’t know, and is going to leave her because he thinks she doesn’t love him anymore (I didn’t notice if she had a ring, but if she was a spy a ring means nothing).

Or maybe she just got told off by her boss. So.

OR MAYBE…

Alex.

You Hide From Consequence

[Opinions Won’t Keep You Warm At Night – Kisschasy]

Day 6 – A Stranger

Dear Stranger:

I have yet to meet you, but maybe you already know who I am. Okay, I know that’s creepy, but I don’t know everyone who knows me. Either way, I don’t know you.

Considering that I’m nearing my 19th birthday still single, I would dare say that my future partner is, at this moment, still a stranger. So, to you, stranger, I wonder if we’ll be great together?

To all those other platonic strangers out there: hey! I may seem weird at first but I implore you to give me a few moments, talk to me, get to know me, and you’ll see that “weirdness” is really just a sort-of-anagram of “awesomeness”.

Anyway, there isn’t really much I can say to someone I don’t know exists, so I shall end it here. But if you’re reading this and I don’t know you, feel free to drop a comment and say hi!

Alex.

I Take My Last Chance To Burn A Bridge Or Two

[I’m Like A Lawyer With The Way I’m Always Trying To Get You Off (Me & You) – Fall Out Boy]

I came across this article while ‘stalking’ the Tumblr of a friend of a mutual friend’s.(Yeah I am admitting to being a bit creepy. But due credit is given.)

Australian ‘angel’ saves lives at suicide spot

The story of the Golden Gate Bridge jumper, the one who didn’t survive, was one that I had actually already mentioned on this very blog, in a password protected post. This musing is not a new one, but I think I will revisit a few points nonetheless.

When I see someone crying, one of three things happen:

1. This person is a friend, to which I will probably stop and ask ‘what’s wrong’.

2. This person is not a friend, to which I will probably keep walking, because I know that I don’t want a not-friend (in the sense that the needle gauging our feelings towards each other is not neutral, but tipping towards dislike) to see me cry.

3. This person is a complete stranger, and they are completely alone. This is when I don’t know what to do.

The man in the article, Ritchie, he sees complete strangers in the act of ending their own lives, and he approaches them to talk to them. He doesn’t care what kind of person they are, he just does it. And he sometimes manages to talk people away from the edge.

All these things are amazing skills. All these things really do take someone special.

Because, if I were in his situation – living across the road from a popular suicide spot – I would probably move away. There is no way I can stay in a place where, if I look out, I see the last standing spot of many many lives.

And even if I did stay, I wouldn’t have the guts to try to stop anyone killing themselves. If I don’t do anything, then their death is their own doing. If I stepped out and still they jumped, even if the law didn’t see me as responsible, in my heart I would feel that failure. Even if there was no way to save the person, I would be plagued with ‘what if I looked up sooner, or if I ran faster, or if I just said the right thing?’

And that’s the other point where I admire Ritchie; he says the right things. He doesn’t always say the right thing, but he does and that’s what impressive. What do you say to a person in such an emotional place that they would want to take their own lives? I don’t know what they’re going through, not really. I don’t have a clue what they’ve experienced in their lives. I haven’t seen or experienced half of what is considered enough in this life to be worthy of any wisdom imparting. Ritchie says that he listens, but he doesn’t counsel. Can I really do that? It’s all so easy to say “you should…” but it’s nearly impossible to say “I’ll let you go ahead and do what you are doing” especially to a stranger. A friend, I know; I know their past, I know their thought patterns…a stranger?

Even if we’re not talking about something so drastic such as talking someone out of a suicide, then let’s just talk about the smiling part. Like I said, if I see a friend crying, I will go to comfort them, most likely. But if I see a stranger crying, would I dare? Who am I to try to comfort anyone, whose troubles probably exceed my age? What if they’re emotionally unstable, and violent? (selfishness is intrinsic, sadly.) But like the note from the jumper said, ‘if just one person smiles at me, I won’t jump’.

It’s not so hard to just smile at someone, is it? You don’t have to talk to them, you don’t have to go near them, hell, you never have to see them again. But smiling is a personal action; it opens ourselves to the other person. It’s lowering the social shield of nonchalance, and exposing the soft flesh of humanity. If we smile at someone and they so much as scowl at us, then it’s like a stab against our esteem. We think ‘what’s the point of smiling at someone who doesn’t appreciate it?’

What’s the point? Because what if this person just so happened to be waiting for your smile to save their life? You may not know it, you may never know it, and you don’t get that gratitude, so you might not see the point in it, but this person’s family or friends might.

My ending thoughts are these: I won’t tell you to go start smiling at everyone, and I definitely won’t tell you to try to talk someone out of killing themselves if they look like they’re unstable and have a weapon on them.

But if you just so happened to come across someone standing on the edge of a building, then please say something. Anything. What have you got to lose? A few wasted minutes at the most, and an unpleasant knowledge that sometimes trying isn’t enough. What have they got to lose? Well, that’s pretty obvious.

If you see a person looking a bit down, then give them a smile, or say ‘are you okay?’ I read on PostSecret all the time about the kindness of a stranger saving someone. You can be that kind stranger.

Alex.

Words Of Strangers

I had 2 encounters with strangers today which I found worthy to be mentioned here.

Number 1: on the train home tonight with Jackie, I decided to be mean and continuously tried to stop her from dozing by poking, nudging, and making a nuisance of myself in general. This was partially because she’d said earlier in the day that she “wasn’t that easy to be really angered”.

When we’d reached Syndal, the second last station, the lady who sat opposite me spoke up. She gestured at me and said to Jackie, “She’s a bitch, eh?”

I laughed, “I sure am.” Jackie laughed as well. Seeing that really Jackie wasn’t too angry, the lady went on:

“Are you two siblings? Because if you were her sister,” she fixed her gaze on me, “she would have WOOSH hit you already.” The lady slapped the air, mimicking the exact action that Jackie actually uses to hit me.

“Oh no we’re not siblings,” I replied. “But she does hit me.”

Number 2: as I logged today onto WordPress, I saw on my user dashboard that I had a “pingback” which is when someone linked a post from my blog in their post. I followed that link…and I saw this. (Now she gets a pingback as well.)

Firstly, it was actually an amazing feeling to realize that something I blogged actually inspired a complete stranger. I felt accomplished for the week.

Secondly, this amazing experience was further spiced by the fact that she referred to me as “a guy”.

This happens in real life because apparently I look androgynous. I don’t really mind that much anymore (except when I’m clearly wearing feminine clothing and speaking out loud. I know my voice is a little husky but still…) but having a stranger on the net mistake me for one based on the one post she read…do I WRITE androgynously?

In other news, I went on Bridge Rd with Mandy, Dorothy, Struong, Joanne and of course Jackie today. Lots of walking produced nothing. Y.A.Y. I left my scarf on the train. I was absolutely shattered. Absolutely shattered with milk flying everywhere, along with my tears.

Someone get me a nice new (man)scarf please. (Oh yes I see how I don’t help my case much.)

Alex.