On Monday afternoon, a friend had posted on Facebook that he has taken a liking to train travel. Someone suggest to him that he try an Amtrak journey. He was uncertain about it because he wants constant Wi-Fi access, which Amtrak does offer on its long-distance trains. I was stunned when I read that, because its so opposite of me. Of course, I had to remind him of a controversial Facebook posting I had last year.
In that Facebook dialogue that surprised me by learning who my "true friends" are, I had posted about how an elderly man got angry with me because I did not engage with him in a conversation. I was in the lobby of my old apartment complex downtown, which had Internet access, since I did not have any in my room. I was doing my evening blogging and was in a hurry because I wanted to get back to my apartment to catch the Coast to Coast AM radio program. As I'm blogging, an elderly man walked by and said hello to me. I said hello, but continued typing. He started talking about something, but I didn't really pay attention to him. That's when he became angry with me and said something along the lines of: "That's the problem with you young people today. You'd rather talk with people online than in person!" I was stunned by his presumption, because I wasn't even on Facebook. I was blogging! Which is like journaling. He walked off angry. Whoa. I thought the incident was strange enough to post it on my Facebook status. I had no idea what a controversial discussion it would turn out to be. Even my dad added his opinion. One high school friend of mine would end up de-friending me a few days afterwards, which I'm certain was a result of how I come off as the bad guy.
I'm used to people wanting to make me out to be the bad guy. Go ahead. Whatever you need to do to sleep at night. Take your shots. I believe I am right about this, though. Just because I am sitting in a public place does not mean I want a conversation with strangers. And yes, there are people who are emotionally needy that they require a conversation with everyone. They cannot bear silence at all. Who's right in this regard? I'm an introverted person who actually hates small talk. I'm generally quiet in public and in large groups. I'm more conversational among close friends and colleagues. I do find it rude when people see someone reading or writing and they have to interrupt. I've even noticed at several places where I worked that no one seems to want to talk to me...UNTIL I pull out a book to read or a blank book to write in. All of the sudden, I'm Mr. Popularity! Amazing how that happens! My theory is that people don't realize that they subconsciously need other people's attention, so when they see someone paying attention to a book or writing, they can't stand it, so they have to do whatever they must to get that person's attention. I wish more people would be subconsciously aware of why they do things. The best time to approach me for a conversation is when I happen to be sitting there, open to a conversation. Yes, I've been known to sit without a book or notebook in hand!
However, when I'm on a train (non-commuter) or airplane, I'm open for a conversation. I won't be on a computer during flight or a rail journey. Meeting fellow travelers is one of the joys in life, because this is when coincidences and synchronicities are most likely to happen. My friend, on the other hand, sounds like he's the opposite.
Anyhow, it was interesting to have this refresher on his Facebook wall. After the hits I took for not being social towards the old man, I've actually learned to be more open towards conversations, even if someone is interrupting my reading or writing time. Several had told me that the man could be an angel in disguise, testing me. If that was the case (and I admit to the possibility, since I did not see him before or after that event), then I failed. So, I can be a little more open, though it still requires a great deal of effort on my part.
That's where I found myself on Monday evening. I was waiting for a friend at the Starbucks at Pioneer Courthouse Square in downtown Portland. He was late, as usual. I didn't mind, though, because I was re-writing my notes from an old, beat up notebook into a composition notebook. I was lost in the world of writing when I felt a presence stand next to my table. I looked up thinking that my friend had finally showed up. Instead, it was an elderly African American man. He asked me if I was a professor or a teacher. I said, "No" and looked at him with confusion. He then said that he was watching me write and he could understand what I'm writing, even though I did not know how he could read what I was writing from the distance he was standing from me. He said that I should be a professor or teacher. Then he turned and walked out of Starbucks. He didn't ask for money or anything. As far as I know, he came in just to say that comment to me and leave. I saw him outside the Starbucks. Then resumed writing. When I turned to look again, he was gone. Disappeared. Was he an angel? I've read stories of incidents like this. Where people will appear out of the blue to help you or say something to you, then disappear. Other people saw him interrupt me, so I know that he was real. It is a strange occurrence to be approached by a "street person" and not be asked for money or food.
Why is the info he shared with me important? Well, for several years, I've had teachers, friends, co-workers, church people, and even a couple of psychics all tell me that I NEED to be a teacher. In fact, the last psychic I saw said that I had to be a teacher if I ever hoped to find career satisfaction. I just don't see how this is possible. I'm not going back to school...at least not until all my debts are paid off. I also never saw myself as a teacher. Nothing about the profession appeals to me. Well, except for the summers off. Anyhow, was this strange mystery man meant to be a messenger to get me back on the path of my destiny? If that is my destiny, though, I'll need more help or hints than that. I would need a job offer that moves me in that direction, but I don't see that happening anytime soon. I'm not looking for a new job at the moment. I want to spend this summer dating and enjoying myself, because for the previous summers, I was so intense about getting the hell out of my intolerable work environment. This will be the first summer I've enjoyed since moving to Portland in 2006. I'm more interested in meeting my Lady Love this summer than anything else.
I'll just have to keep this mystery encounter in my memory and maintain an open mind and eye for anything else unusual that might happen in the days or weeks ahead.
In other news, The Adjustment Bureau arrives on DVD today and I bought a copy this evening. Can't wait to watch it again. Love, love, love this movie...which I hope will be my favourite film this year. It has a good chance, though there are two films being released this fall that may dislodge it from the top spot: The long-overdue On the Road film adaptation and I just learned, George Clooney is directing a film based on the Howard Dean for America presidential campaign of 2004 (I think its going to be more Primary Colors than W. And I also think the message will be about the shallowness of the media to character assassinate a candidate they don't like). Its a great year for movies, though...especially compared to last year's dismal offerings.
On my data tracking, I've noticed that several people around the world have been Google-searching a question like "Is the Adjustment Bureau real?" Apparently, the film has hit a spiritual nerve with quite a few people. Even someone in the Punjab region of Pakistan was inquiring about the movie's reality. Of course, its a creative story from someone's imagination (such as Philip K. Dick), but I believe that there are spiritual beings assigned to keep us on task. Perhaps that's what this mystery man at the Starbucks was all about. I hope so. I am noting it on my blog, just in case the info he gave me leads me down a new path in life. This could be the start of something big.