When the work day promises to be especially hectic, I catch the early 4f bus at 6:15 in the morning. When it arrives at my downtown stop, the sky will be just hinting at sunrise, but the stars will still be in full force.
We're in the heart of Minneapolis winter, and although it is a relatively balmy 10 degrees this morning, the mood on the bus seems especially sober this morning. Of the six people alrady on the bus, three have their heads leaning up against the glass windows, either their eyes are shut, or they are looking forlornly at the morning night outside.
At the front of the bus behind the driver is a young man I think of as David, who looks, more than anything, like the common artistic representation of Jesus Christ, except wearing a worn hooded sweatshirt under a insulated denim jacket. He has long brownish hair and a reddish beard, and a slightly Roman nose. His eyes are closed. Logically, he is probably just fatigued after an active weekend, but there is something about him that suggests a somewhat more existential weariness.
I look at others on the bus, and I recognize one of those mornings where the gentle suffering of being human is quite evident. Not a happy face to be seen. No anguish either, but lots of very quiet borderline sorrow in the air. It's before dawn on a Monday morning after all. And it's winter. And it's MInneapolis. As more and more passengers board, the mood isn't lightened at all.
There is only one exception to this prevailing mood. Midway into downtown, two young adults get aboard at different stops. They clearly know each other, and carry on a silent smiling conversation with one another sitting across the aisle facing one another. Let's call them Luke and Heather. They look like a Luke and Heather to me. The carry identical gleaming silver coffee mugs, and smile at one another and mouth silent phrases to one another. But then Luke gets off the bus, and Heather's face falls into the same expression of quiet sorrow I see on all the other faces——myself included, I suppose.
This is all rather depressing, so I try to think up some lesson here, some encouragement with which to face the day. I think to myself, "Life isn't easy for anybody. Knowing that, we should try to be nice to one another. "
Not the pithiest motto. But for this Monday morning, it will have to do.