You’ll come to realize that sometimes when lost, we find things we never thought of looking for.
I came to this realization this past weekend whilst traveling on what I thought to be a simple journey to Niagara Falls, but which turned into quite an adventure.
My father’s birthday was this week and my entire family booked a trip to go down south to spend some time in luxury. Beyond my hint of jealousy, I was disappointed that I could not go because I had work. I finally decided to beg my boss to let me go and off I was on Friday morning.
Everything was planned and I left home for a doctor’s appointment before the journey really started.
When the first bus was late, I knew things were not going to go as planned. An hour and a half later and I’ve missed my first bus on the route to Niagara.
This isn’t good.
Frustrated and hungry, I walked to the bus stop with all my things and emotions and slouched onto the bench in the bus shelter. Along comes a woman, who I soon discover is Jamaican, and we begin to talk about everything we miss about the island and what we don’t understand about it.
Once the bus comes, we both hop on but it’s a full bus so I sit where I find space: beside a man who I soon discover just moved from India. After asking him if I’m going the right way (and getting a confused response because he didn’t really know), we talked about India and Canada and everything we love about it and what he understands about English.
Once at the next bus station, we part ways. In a flurry, I’m on my next bus going to where I should be. Things are looking up.
But this is where I get (properly) lost.
Thanks to terrible signage, I miss my stop. “Hi, Mr. Bus Driver,” I said. “You’re still going here right?” He gives me a dazed look. “I already passed there; were you sleeping or something?”
Panic flows over me. Unlike the stress that comes with being lost in an unknown country as I’ve experienced many times before, there’s something about being lost in a place you thought you knew that can throw you off just the same.
“Here, get on that bus over there and go back to the stop you missed.” The bus I should get on leaves before I do. Damn.
So I wait.
And then a girl comes up to me and asks if I know when a different bus is coming. And so I tell her my whole story and I soon discover she comes from where I do and we talk about that place and how it’s special and what I understand about buses to Niagara.
Then my bus comes.
I get on and ask specifically where my stop is and what the sign will say to get off. The driver tells me a slightly-less wrong answer but I manage to get off at the stop I initially thought was my stop that is my stop.
I ask a girl in the bus shelter when the next bus is coming. She says she doesn’t know because she’s not taking it. I soon discover she’s going where I just came from and we talk about my difficult trip, the bus company’s confusing signage and what we don’t understand about it.
She leaves and it’s just me. Alone in that lot, waiting until my bus finally came and I’m reunited with my family.
Sometimes when you reach your destination, you get just that: exactly what you were expecting. But rarely is every two journey the same. My trip didn’t go as planned, no. But think of all the people I met and their stories I heard. I can’t recall if I’ve ever openly spoken to so many strangers before in a day. It’s as if I traveled the country (and a bit of the world, too) just through their words.
This very short trip taught me a lot; but most of all, it taught me to speak up and to listen. There’s a lot going on out there, beyond ourselves. A lot.
À la prochaine,
Music for the Moment: