When I was in fifth grade, I loved nothing better than a game of sardines. One person hides somewhere in the house. Then everyone goes searching for them. When you find the hider, you quietly join them in the hiding place. Last one to find find the hider is the loser & hides next. My friend Cara was the Queen of Sardines; I never beat her, even when we were playing in my house.
I hadn’t thought of sardines for years, until I was squished up against a variety of other people in the #71 bus this week. We looked like a can of sardines, and we were as quiet as fifth graders playing the game. But no one was having fun — that was pretty clear. Americans, in general, and New Englanders, in particular, are accustomed to having some personal space, and hate being part of a moving can of sardines.
Next time I find myself cheek to jowl with strangers on the #71 (or elsewhere), I think I’ll break the silence. Might as well laugh about it, or at least commiserate. Maybe we’ve been smooshed together for a reason. As my wise friend Curtis would say, “What’s the invitation here?” How could the Spirit, who often shows up in the midst of awkwardness, when we are feeling out of sorts or looking goofy, breathe renewal here?
In the meantime: apologies to the nice lady whose hair I accidentally pulled when I grabbed the seat-back as the bus lurched forward.