DEAR MISS LONELYHEARTS: I spotted a woman on the bus on the ride home who looked familiar. She must have felt me looking at her because she turned her head and stared right back at me. Then she smiled. It was an old girlfriend from high school behind a mask. By that I mean, her teeth were rotten and her face was a waxen yellowish colour. I felt this immense desire to turn my head and shut out the feelings. I used to be so in love with her but she dumped me in Grade 12 for a better-looking guy. At 30 I turned my life around, got an education and a career by age 37. I heard she got into drugs. So, there I was riding the bus home in my suit, and there she was waiting. She looked at me like she'd like to come over and I smiled and then looked right out the bus window. She would think I was being snobby but I had tears in my eyes. She may have been homeless, or next thing to it. I know I hurt her. She had her head way down when I passed her and exited the bus. What should I have done? -- The Jerk, South St. Vital
Dear Feeling: When you feel awkward, avoidance isn't the answer. You needed to stand up and act. Kindness, not heroics, is all you're going for. You should have said hi and a few words. You could have moved right over and had a few minutes conversation and totally overlooked the differences in your two situations. Your bus stop or hers would have come soon enough, and you could have wished her well. If she was in desperate straits and asked you for a few bucks you could have give her that and more, and wished her well. You would have felt better for it and she might have given you a gift back; she might have apologized for hurting you in high school.
Dear Miss Lonelyhearts: I come from a wealthy Winnipeg family. Men know about me and my family's big business. I am sick and tired of being judged that way. Sometimes I just want to go somewhere where nobody knows me. My dad says I can go to any university I want. Should I stay here with the family, or go away to school? -- Graduating in June, Winnipeg
Dear Graduating: The next five or so years are significant dating and mating years for you, and your instincts are right. Go away where you can grow up and meet people on a level playing field. Living in residence at a university in a difference province would mean you'd be living with people from all walks of life. Some might have part-time jobs and be scraping by while some might be well-to-do, even minor royals from exotic countries. You can always come back to Winnipeg to take part in the family business if you wish, at a later date. Now is the perfect time to be anonymous, at a place where people judge you for your character and personality, period.