The Connection.

Source: Wikipedia

Bus stops are public spaces so I shouldn’t feel uncomfortable when sharing them with other people but I always have this very low level nervousness when I’m not alone at one. Who is this person? Are they thinking anything about me? Did I remember to zip up my pants? Sometimes I’ll see the same person over successive days, even weeks, and that makes me even more nervous. Should I say something? What should I say? Maybe it’s better if we just pretend we’re each alone here.

I’d never seen the guy who rolled up in a motorized wheelchair before. He had straw colored hair and blue-tinted glasses. The sound of his wheelchair had made me turn and we accidentally made eye contact so I gave him a polite “hello” nod. Good save there.

“Anybody ever tell you you look like John Boy Walton?” he said.

All my nervousness melted like an ice cube under a blow torch.

“No,” I said, smiling. “Never heard that one.”

“You’re kiddin’! You look just like him only younger.”

I almost wanted to hug the guy. I’m pretty sure being compared to Richard Thomas is a compliment. He certainly made it sound like one. I thought about telling him about the time in high school when a girl broke my heart when she told me I reminded her of Jim Belushi. If she’d said John Belushi I would have taken some comfort in being compared to the funny one but even though this was when Jim Belushi was an SNL cast member himself the comparison still felt like the kiss of death. Or rather just death since there was no chance she’d kiss me, but that’s another story.

“So where are you from?”

I told him right here in Nashville and he was surprised again. We chatted some more and learned we’d both been born in the same hospital, albeit a few years apart, which we could see from the bus stop.

Then the bus pulled up and I stepped back and let him board first. He had a large sign on the back of his wheelchair advertising a cell phone company. Funny that, I thought. He’s probably making money carrying a sign for a way people communicate, but he and I made a brief connection.

Being compared to Jim Belushi still smarts. Somebody please tell me there’s no resemblance.

eyes

 

19 Comments

  1. Gilly Maddison

    No, you don’t appear to me to look like Jim Belushi. G’night John Boy.

    Reply
    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      The comparison to John Boy Walton is as flattering as the comparison to Belushi was heartbreaking. I still don’t see either one but I’ll take the flattery.

      Reply
  2. Ann Koplow

    Not a whit of Jim Bilushi.

    Reply
    1. Ann Koplow

      Or Jim Belushi, either.

      Reply
    2. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      That’s an immense relief. And I suspect that even if you saw a picture of me from that time you’d say the same. At least I hope so.

      Reply
  3. Kristine @MumRevised

    I am certain it was because you are funny that she Belushi’d you. I love the random connections with people. Elevators are my favourite because I have an irrational fear of the cable snapping sound and it takes my mind off my ultimate death to talk to a stranger.

    Reply
    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      Your ultimate death never seems to be far from your mind. I’m glad something as simple as talking to a random stranger is enough to distract you.

      Reply
  4. Gina

    Nope, don’t see a similarity to John Boy or the Belushi brothers. I mean, it could have been worse. What if that girl in high school said you reminded her of a human version of Jabba the Hut? Ouch. For whatever radom reason, my brain thought of the Russian poet Lermontov when thinking of someone who looks like you. I have no idea where my brain got that idea. I pulled up some pics (pics of paintings obviously) of him and didn’t really see a resemblance, other than maybe a similar high forehead. Still, not a bad comparison really. Much better than Jabba.

    Reply
    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      While I don’t see a resemblance the idea that I might look even a little bit like Lermontov is flattering and I’d forgotten that I had a college professor who said I looked like Coleridge. And I don’t sit around shooting up morphine so that’s an added bonus. As for not looking like Jabba the Hut, well, that’s setting the bar pretty low. But if she’d said that I know how I’d respond.

      Reply
  5. Margot

    Jim Belushi? I see no resemblance what-so-ever. In your profile picture you look a little like a young Jackson Browne to me, which I would consider a compliment.

    I used to get my feelings hurt in high school when people would tell me I looked like Janis Joplin. I’ve since learned how to control my frizzy hair.

    Reply
    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      Being compared to a young Jackson Browne is very much a compliment and I think would have been even more fitting when my hair was longer.
      And being compared to Janis Joplin is a high compliment. Don’t let that take a little piece of your heart. Would it hurt your feelings less if someone who said you looked like her also bought you a Mercedes Benz?

      Reply
  6. Jay

    Not even close. It has given me the giggle though.
    My colleague just told me last week I reminded her of Sandra Bullock. I shot her a look and she said no, no, not that you look like her, just that you’re funny like her. I shot her a way meaner look.

    Reply
    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      At least you get a compliment for being funny which is definitely something. Beauty is fleeting but funny is forever.

      Reply
  7. kdcol

    A little like John Boy, yes. Funny, I was just thinking of The Waltons the other day. No Jim Belushi. I’ll sometimes strike up conversations with strangers in the grocery store, maybe lamenting over the ridiculous price of FILL IN THE BLANK. And I may make conversation in the checkout line. That is all.

    Reply
    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      That’s nice that you make conversations in the checkout line. I do that too sometimes although I more frequently end up talking to the cashiers. It helps take my mind off the prices.

      Reply
  8. Sandra

    Ah crap. Of course I have to be the odd one in the bunch. I was like, “Yeah. Jim Belushi.” And I don’t know why that would be insulting. He’s super cute.

    Reply
    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      If you think he’s super cute then it’s not an insult and this was at the height of his fame when he was on Saturday Night Live, but he’s a big guy and I was, and still am, self-conscious about my weight. And back then I had more of it to be self-conscious about.

      Reply
      1. Margot

        High school is a rough time. I was looking at some pictures of Janis Joplin and I did kind of look like her. It seemed like a huge insult at the time, but it wouldn’t bother me now. I agree that Jim Belushi was pretty good looking, though I get what you mean about the weight issue. Any suggestion that you aren’t perfectly attractive hurts at that age.

        Reply
      2. Sandra

        “Big guy” is relative. He is handsome, still is. I loved that sitcom Jim was in a few years ago “According to Jim” and loved that he got fame due to his own abilities as a comedic actor not because of who his brother was.

        Reply

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