Today I broke an unwritten rule of society. I didn’t plan to, it just happened. And when it happened it made me feel good. So good in fact that I might do it again.
I was taking my normal journey into the office. I’d walked to the train station, taken the overground to St Pancras, and had travelled down into the depths of the Northern line to jump the couple of stops to Old Street.
For once my ears were not full of music or podcasts. I had with me a book. A real life, physical, hard backed book.
I’d climbed onboard and was stood in front of a row of seated passengers, and within twenty seconds of setting off a voice from over my right shoulder said “Excuse me, but what is that book you’re reading? I’ve been reading from behind you and it seems rather interesting.”
And rather than huff and puff at the invasion of my privacy, I engaged in conversation … with a complete stranger … on the London Underground!
For anyone who travels regularly on the tube you know that the way to travel is to keep your head down, listen to your music, press your face into a newspaper, and do not make eye contact. And here I was talking to a stranger about politics and the disenfranchised society.
It was only a brief conversation. A couple of minutes. But we exchanged views, and acknowledged each other, and then our journey together was over, but it was a positive experience.
It was the first thing I spoke to my work colleagues about when I stepped into the office, and it started the day positively. These interactions, however brief, can be powerful.
Despite the terrible news we’re faced with every day, some times you can glimpse the positive impact that people can have on each other.
I’ll be making steps to be more open when travelling and you never know, I might find someone else willing to share a brief moment of their life with me.
And the book — More Human by Steve Hilton, which is subtitled ‘Designing a world where people come first’. How apt!
Have you spoken to anyone new today?