You meet all kinds of people on the subway in New York City.
Today an administrative assistant and I had a small conversation on R platform and in the train. This series will reveal some amazing things you can learn from strangers.
The train was late and everyone was complaining about how hot it was, because down in the underground it's humid as hell. At 9 A. M. you're swimming around with everyone else in their workday best as they try to board the train to Manhattan.
I got to talking with a woman in her late 40's, professionally dressed, smiling but fed up. She was in her late 40's, her face was pretty, but it had some miles on it. Experience can make people look a little hardened, but she didn't.
We'll call her the Admin.
She asked me why my outfit was so casual. Today I wore shorts, a Ramones T-Shirt, big necklace and a chambray button-down because it was so hot.
"I work in a pretty laid back office, lots of young people. It's a good place to be." I replied.
She smiled and said, "I work in an open office, 40 years. All women. Can you imagine?" She seemed like one of those people that would have a positive attitude even if everything was wrong.
I like those kinds of people, because they make you realize that everyone is different and despite everyone's background, some positivity can always creep in.
"I just like to do my work. I'm not one for gossip." She said, referring to the state of her office.
"I'm the same way. I move too fast sometimes though. That's kind of my downfall." I said.
"Don't do that! You've got a long way to go, don't burn out, you'll regret it." She replied, as if my tired eyes made it obvious that I had been up late checking on work-related things for the next day.
As the train rattled and rolled around the tracks, packed with unsympathetic characters, this lady just stuck out for some reason. She had kind eyes, and obviously a motherly instinct, seeing that I was young and on my way to work in the big city alone.
She said she was an investment administrator and I immediately thought of money, "So you're good with money right? I'm the worst." I said candidly.
"Yes! I've learned though. Don't take out a credit card! All you need is love really, do your job, live frugally and find something you love, or someone." She smiled.
I'm sure she had lived quickly at one time, and now settled and stable feels as if she can empart some of her wisdom on a young gun like me. It really helped. This morning was a flurry, I woke up a little late, got a little lost and was thinking about all the things I had the potential to screw up.
Sometimes those mornings creep up on you and ruin the entire day.
But this one didn't.
The Admin got lost in the shuffle as the trains switched over at Union Square, and I sat down in an empty seat, thankful that I had taken the time to talk with her.