the wisdom of a stranger

"Do you know if there's wifi here?"

I've been in a word bunker for the last 5 days, trying to get this book written (I've written an additional 30 pages done so far, so many more to go), and I decided that I needed a bit of human interaction today.  So I guiltily drove to a coffee house -- Common Bond, one I haven't visited in a while -- just for a quick coffee before heading back to work.

Guilt did prompt me to bring a bit of work with me, however, so when I sat down I asked the guy at the table next to me, the one who was quietly working on his own laptop, if there was wifi in the coffeehouse.  When he answered, I noticed an accent that was really familiar.

"Where are you from?"

"You mean, where was I born?" he asked.  "Trinidad."

I smiled.  "Me, too."

And thus began a 2-hour conversation with a total stranger -- one that began with us laughing about memories of Trinidad, and developed into one of those deep conversations where you're convinced that the two of you could change the world, if only the world would listen.

By the time I'd returned to my car, I should've felt guilty for spending so much time not working, but I didn't.  And something this total stranger said to me struck me so hard, I suspect I'll be thinking of it for months to come:

You cannot remove darkness with a bucket.  You have to introduce light.

Common bond, indeed.

(But now, I'm back at home, and I'm back to work.  More when I emerge again.)


Soundtrack:  Joy & peace, by Common (featuring Bilal)