Saturday, February 12, 2011

When A Stranger Calls

I was buying some veggies in Chinatown this morning and I had an experience with this European woman in the market. While shopping in the two little produce markets that I have come to call my local spots in the city, I rarely see other non-Chinese (or Asians) browsing around. But today this European girl bumped into me. She looked at me with these big eyes, perhaps surprised to see another "white" face amongst her? - I don't know. Anyway, she said "excuse me" and went on her way. When I went up to pay, I was behind her in line. I took no notice of her but when she finished paying she said goodbye to me and nodded her head. Not to the saleswoman, but to me. And this isn't the first time I've noticed some camaraderie among other non-Asians while shopping in Chinatown. Is it because we're the minority in this Chinese enclave? I enjoy shopping in Chinatown and I never think twice about the people I see around me, but I guess others may not be feeling the same way.

I think this is similar to the camaraderie I always feel while using public transportation with my fellow humans. I'm always fascinated with how complete strangers will come together in shared anguish when trains are delayed or when you're on a train that stops for ten minutes because the "train up ahead in stalled." Complete strangers look each other in the eye and shake their heads in common annoyance. I love it.

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