This morning, I caught the bus. Not exactly unusual or out of the ordinary, as it’s something that’s happened many times before. Specifically, I caught the route 75 to Hobart, a bus and route I’ve caught many times before, either for getting to work, or for getting to Uni. And like many times before, an adult with Down’s syndrome got on the bus, and like he usually does, started singing.
Sometimes it’s just a few mumbled lines here and there. Other times, it’s the chorus, and if he particularly likes the song, entire verses
I’m not sure if he knows he’s doing it. But it’s fairly unusual for someone to be singing aloud in public, let alone on a bus carrying commuters to their daily grind.
Most of the time, he gets mostly ignored from his fellow passengers. They’ll usually smirk to themselves and continue reading the newspaper — the newspaper, would you believe it.
But this morning was different. He was belting out something I couldn’t quite make out for reasons I’ll get into later, and when he had finished, the entire bus applauded. Well, almost the entire bus — I didn’t, but the front half of the bus around where he was sitting did, as the the two schoolgirls sitting in front of me.
The reason I didn’t was because I had no idea he was singing. My in-ears were, uh, in, Taylor Swift was playing, and I was elsewhere. I only noticed after a smattering of applause, after which I paused Taylor and realised he was doing his thing again.
It was kind of nice. I’ve had a friend who used to catch the same bus tell me “he must be really into his music”, but mostly, everyone just ignores him, perhaps because they realise he has Down’s syndrome and give him a free pass. It’s not like he’s the best vocalist around — tone deaf only begins the scratch the surface of his tonal capabilities, and I say that in the nicest possible way — so seeing him recognised for his efforts by the public was kind of nice, and restored a little of my faith in humanity.
Remember what I said when I started this Blogvember thing? I said it would be kind of like the personal memoirs of Benny Ling, a way for me to record what I was doing during November 2014. And it’s been like that for the most part. Looking over the archives, and it turns out I’ve written about the same bus trip once before. The time I wrote about how I was glad my in-ear headphones shielded me from the ignorance of others — a harsh title, regardless of how true it may have been at the time — was actually during Blogtober in October 2009, more than five years ago.
Today, my in-ears shielded me from hearing a poor rendition of some song I probably wouldn’t have recognised anyway. But they didn’t stop me from feeling the impact of a little humanity, eve if it was just a smattering of applause for someone with Down’s syndrome singing on the bus.These words part of Blogvember, a thing I just made up right then about getting back into blogging. You can read more words about Blogvember right over here, but the gist is that I'll be attempting to post something up on the blog every day in November 2014. Read other Blogvember posts.