He sat in the opposite aisle on my train looking at me tapping his foot annoyingly vying for something that I had no intention of giving this strange young man, my attention. He was probably a simpleton, mentally challenged in some way or possibly hung over from the night before. After all this was a morning bloody train from Waterloo! I had paid my fare so was entitled to be immersed in my own private insular preoccupation. Yet here I was confronted with this unfathomable task of speaking to a stranger – who threatened my slumber.
“Sorry!” I spat out at him as he aimed an unintelligible question at me. If he didn’t get that I was NOT to be disturbed by my body language he sure as hell would get the message now.
However, this peculiar young man held my eye and touched me with his smile. I was less guarded now as I listened to him repeat the question. Damn you stranger! I thought to myself why would you be inconveniencing me at this bloody time in the morning on a train with friendly conversation…this guy was obviously in some way disturbed, surely.
But he did seem genuinely interested in me and his probing opened me up a little more. It could do no harm I thought if I humoured him somewhat with trivial banter. After all my destination and escape route was close-by so i could soon be free from this awkward encounter. And so it was that I left this “strange” young man and went on my way to briefly ponder what had just happened.
The following week on the same train to the same destination I found myself sat right opposite the same young man with the same unarming smile. Surely this was more than just coincidence and we both knew it. The conversation flowed naturally and I was quickly warming to this quirky travelling companion. Geoff, his name, was not a student or unreformed hippy as first thought but a part time Vet, Film producer, director and actor. Well he had my full attention now. His Veterinary work was, he explained simply a means to an end, the end being to bring his film scripts to life on the big screen.
This young man was fascinating in the extreme not just because he was following his dreams but also because he seemed to radiate optimism and a genuine thirst for life. I have always been attracted to “characters” but Geoff really made an impact on me. He had awoken me from a “Sleep Walking” state of mind. I suddenly became aware how closed to outsiders I had become over the few months I had been commuting in London. Surrounded by thousands of fellow human beings and fellow citizens yet totally detached from every single one of them and thereby alienated from my own intrinsic humanity.
Needless to say this time round I was intrigued by Geoff with his many talents and infectious energy. We talked non stop, swapped cards and promised to stay in touch.
Over the ensuing weeks I discovered that Geoff was a man on mission to not just make a film but to make a real difference. He explained how his goal was to meet and connect with three stranger’s everyday in London and imagine if everyone did the same what a difference that would make to the world we inhabit. Sounded a bit feely touchy I agree but I further discovered that this was how Geoff lived his life. There didn’t appear to be any huge ego or vanity about his dream of making films and he was determined to enjoy each part of the journey good and bad. He seemed genuine, authentic and full of wisdom and humility.
Geoff sent me his script, I advised him on how to blog his story. He listened to my musings on how best to build an online tribe and implemented almost everything I suggested. Whilst I read his blog, I learn important lessons about life that I knew but had all but forgotten. My humanity has been reignited.
Thank you Geoff for disturbing my “sleep” on the train.