Choose your passengers wisely

I commute to work five days a week, via train and ferry, and in each of those days I rub elbows with hundreds of fellow passengers. Fortunately, I often get a seat, which is helpful as I am on those trains and ferries for 60 minutes (each way!).

There are plenty of well-known rules when commuting, and I try to respect them all: be reasonably quiet, keep the headphone volume low, put your bags and packages at your feet or on your lap, don’t eat, and similar courtesies. One rule of commuting that is not well-known is related to how to choose what passenger you sit next to during your commute — and that is today’s topic.

Though I don’t do it as often now, I occasionally take (and used to always take) an express bus to work. These buses have four seats across, facing forward, split into pairs by an aisle. On an express bus, choosing a passenger to sit next to is easy: find the smallest person with reasonable hygiene who is not yapping on a cell phone. More often than not, this means an attractive woman. (I do not have bias to women; it is just that they are often smaller than men, and when given a choice, I would prefer to make the most appealing choice.)

Picking the person who sits at your side on a 60-minute bus ride can make a big difference. Pick the right person, and you enjoy a pleasant commute (and maybe a follow-up dinner or movie, if you play your cards right). Pick the wrong person, and your commute can be a miserable one.

The same holds true for life. We must pick our passengers wisely and carefully. The people who sit by your side can make the difference between happiness and sadness, achievement and failure, passion and despair, a good fit or a bad fit.

So the next time you are alone, out in the world, looking for a seat, wondering what passenger to ride withm think about your ideal, and find the best match. You’ll be glad you did.

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