Recently, I took the Amtrak from the Goleta station back home to L.A. (it was for Mid-Autumn Festival, got to have those moon cakes). Along the way, I sat next to no less than four different people, all hailing from a different nationality and bearing different personalities. As part of an experiment, I acted differently with each of them, and to my surprise, neither I nor the passenger beside me felt uncomfortable. Normally a fairly reserved person around those I don’t really know, I took the initiative and struck up a conversation with one of my fellow passengers and when a new passenger sat down, I would change personalities. A feeling of liberation took place when I discovered a single, important truth about daily interactions with strangers – they don’t know you. They have no prior knowledge of your background, your likes and dislikes, your religion, your, well, anything. All they can rely on is the meager hope that you turn out to be someone agreeable and that you allow them to carry on with whatever business they were tending to before boarding.
This got me thinking and an interesting thought came to mind. Having recently started college, I am in pretty much the same predicament. With the exception of what they can glean from my past likes, status updates, and basic info – and that’s if they have me as a friend on Facebook – they have literally no knowledge of the person I was in high school. It’s interesting, in a way, that simply riding a train pushed me to this realization that I am capable of starting a new chapter in the entity known as “Ben Fan,” but it has served to be a great aid thus far. I would like to apologize for any incoherent thoughts or misspellings that are uncharacteristic of me, but I’ve also learned that college homework is no pushover.
The main thing is, the timid, the shy, the cowardly of us, we’re all waiting for a train. The phrase has taken on a whole new meaning for me; “waiting for a train” simply means to wait for the right opportunity to that amiable, successful person you see inside of you but fail to exhibit. And with college, I believe the train has already arrived. All that remains is you and your ticket to ride on the journey of change. All aboard.