Cross Town with Carl Dow

Cross Town with Carl Dow

'Wisdom is the result of a happy marriage between intelligence and experience'

Getting out and about by way of public transportation proves to be a perfect way to mix it up with the public. Far better than being isolated in your personal vehicle, struggling with traffic and being annoyed about the high cost of fuel.

Almost always those sitting beside you or across the aisle are easy to engage in conversation.

Recently, opposite me was a charming woman who was confidently carrying her middle years. On her lap was a satchel. Under her right arm was a book.

I asked her what she was reading. She showed me the cover with a defiant smile: Warrior Nation.

Good book?

Very good. And very popular. I had to wait two months before the library could secure one for me. It’s about how Harper is transforming Canada from a nation of peacekeepers into a war machine. It’s terrible what he’s doing.

I agreed and we shared our thoughts until she reached her stop.

Sitting next to me was a young woman who, I was soon to learn, was 24.

A brown-skinned mother with three cheerful, well-behaved children in tow, got off the bus.

I said to the young woman, seated on my right, it’s interesting to observe that though there are superficial differences like colour and cultural attitudes, we are all so fundamentally the same.

Take children, I said, no matter what origin, two-year-olds know what they want and they want it now. Then they fade into pleasant three-year-olds but by the time they reach four, children not only know what they want and want it now but they also know exactly how each and every single thing must be done. Then they become easy-going five-year-olds. And that's universal.

The young woman smiled and said, teenagers know everything but they don’t know what they want.

I smiled in return and asked her how old she was. She said, with a knowing nod, 24.

Now I know what I want, she said. I want to go back to school and do something with my mind.

Wisdom, I said, is the result of a happy marriage between intelligence and experience. I’m sure you’re headed for a happy marriage.

By this time the bus had arrived at the terminal and we exchanged pleasant goodbyes.

Happy trails.