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Sunday, January 15, 2012

It Doesn't Always Have to be Complex

When I was a child, there was a strip mall a couple blocks down with a dry cleaner’s at one end; and there wasn’t a day that Danny didn’t stand outside of it.

Danny was a slow-moving and happy man, and it was written all over his face that he enjoyed his life.

“Nice daaaaaaaaay!” he’d enthuse. Danny’s definition of a nice day ran the gamut of blue sky to rainy to full-blown blizzard. As far as Danny was concerned, every day was a nice day.

My interaction with the handicapped thinned as I aged. Once grown and forced into the real world, the typical single-occupant commute becomes a lonely affair; and people you don’t know but must contend with cease to be human beings and start looking more like obstacles. Dirty, stinking, law-breaking and potentially lethal obstacles.

Then I started riding the bus.

And it was confirmed that many human beings are, indeed, dirty, stinking, law-breaking and potentially lethal obstacles.

And that many are not.

The man at the bus stop this morning, a man I’ve known by sight for seven years, a man who now requires an electric scooter and has a terrible hitch in his breathing, asked me smilingly, as we waited in the rain, if we were “having fun yet”.

“Fun is a relative term,” I shivered, my nyloned legs goose-pimpling.

Downtown twenty minutes later, I watched from my seat as this same man and his scooter were hydraulically lowered from the bus to the street. He ran his scooter up the block only to return to circle, again and again, a woman in a wheelchair, a woman who smiled and shouted something at him that I could not hear.

I watched from the warmth of the bus.

Flirt.

Downtown! For cryin’ out loud, look at all the people! People in wheelchairs, people with canes and dogs, tiny people and people who must be well over seven feet tall…

Drunk with people-watching, I have rediscovered my fascination with human beings, a fascination that had not long ago faced suffocation.

Take my recent foray into a downtown retail store. There is a man there every time I am there, a man with a determined face pushing what appears to be a tennis ball affixed to the end of what may be a broom handle, removing the scuff marks that a disrespectful shoe can leave on a shiny white floor.

From the looks of him, he is quite a bit younger than I am.

I stepped aside to let him finish, and he did. I smiled briefly at him, and he stared at me.

“Tho,” he says. “You been buthy thinth high thchool?”

Who, me?

Why yes. I guess I have been.

And that’s when I realized I was having a nice day.

Which got me thinking: I’ll bet we’ve all been busy since high school. But how many of us recognize a nice day without it being pointed out?

33 comments:

mybabyjohn/Delores said...

Pearl, any day you're above ground is a nice day!

Douglas said...

"Have you been busy since high school?"

What an interesting question to ask a stranger. Since high school was, for me, 46 years ago the answer would be yes and no... but mostly no. Busy, to me, implies doing something and for maybe a third of that time, I was sleeping.

mshatch said...

I tend to think nice days occur more often in the spring/summer/fall but they may be because I am NOT a winter girl. I DO love a good snowstorm, though!

IndigoWrath said...

Hey Pearl! I love the idea of the flirt in the wheelchair, he puts me to shame; I'd blush and mumble. I salute him! Indigo x

jabblog said...

People-watching is one of the greatest joys in life.

Eva Gallant said...

I guess I've been busy since high school...it will be 49 years this summer! I love people-watching through your eyes!

terlee said...

Friday I posted on my blog about my excitement in looking forward to Sunday: blustery snowstorm, Irish stew cooking on the stove, and a book I've been looking forward to reading.

I really think it makes the day even better when you recognize a good one.

Georgie Horn said...

Coming by for a little pearl wisdom. Come by for a visit!
http://georgie-hornpuddinnpie.blogspot.com/2012/01/january-huge-giveaway-what-do-you-have.html

Georgie Horn said...

Coming by for a little pearl wisdom. Come by for a visit!
http://georgie-hornpuddinnpie.blogspot.com/2012/01/january-huge-giveaway-what-do-you-have.html

Vapid Vixen said...

Back in the days before TSA, I would love going to the airport for people watching. You see some incredible things when people don't know they're being watched. And that sentence just made me sound really creepy.

That Janie Girl said...

Girl. How cool is that? You are so wise. xoxo

vanilla said...

Any day in which I can stand up and put on my trousers is a good day!

May your days be filled with goodness.

jenny_o said...

So true. Most of us are so dang busy with all our ... busy-ness ... we wouldn't know a nice day if we fell over it.

It's good to see the world through more appreciative eyes.

Argent said...

Will try to look out for those good days. A captivating slice of life.

mrwriteon said...

Aside from being terribly smart and terribly funny, you have a wonderful soul. No wonder I like you so much.

Belle said...

I find my encounters with strangers is usually positive. People are so interesting!

Vicus Scurra said...

You are truly lovely.

Dr Max Tunguska said...

There's a life lesson to be learned there for most of us. The flirt in the wheelchair was priceless. When life deals us a bad hand, set fire to it and go and have a nice cup of coffee.

Tammy said...

Nice message, thanks. Oh, and have a nice day.

Happy Frog and I said...

Seeing a new post from you is always a delight. I'm so pleased to hear that you are back to enjoying people watching. It's a wonderful occupation.

Jayne Martin said...

There aren't that many people to watch here in my little rural valley. Maybe that's why I always have a nice day. ;)

klahanie said...

Aha, yet some more musings about all things Metro. I bet you're a big fan of that British 'classic comedy' show, "On the Buses". You might not know this but I did an alternative show to this called, "Off the Buses".
'Have a nice day!' Or to get the bewildered look, you reply, 'Don't tell me what kind of day to have!'
"strip mall". Only in America :)
There you go, another comment from shy and humble me. And just when you thought your nice day couldn't get any nicer....
Take care of yourself,
Gary :)

Ms Sparrow said...

You have turned people-watching into an art form!

Julianna said...

I am a mail lady. The best part of my day is when the monotony of my solitude is broken by a customer.

Indeed, every day is a good day.

On My Soapbox said...

Every day is a bonus day to me! People watching is interesting. You never know what you're going to see.

The Elephant's Child said...

People watching, and even better, people listening is a never ending joy. And an addiction.
Thanks for this and other gems.

Crystal Pistol said...

Well this was a delightful post! From start to finish.

I was actually having a very grumpy moment so I thought I'd see if Pearl could dispel some pearls and lookie there... you did. I feel more than just slightly better about things now.

I have been VERY busy since high school. What a great question.

Tempo said...

I try hard to look at the best side of life but sometimes it's not so easy....Thanks for bringing things into perspective for me.

Suldog said...

Nice piece. No deep thoughts, just that bit of compliment. Very pleasant read.

The Jules said...

I AM having fun yet!

Also, a nice day.

But then again, I'm not at work and I've got Lego.

Daisy said...

I'm still enjoying each day! This is a blessing. Maybe one that we need to be reminded of now and then. Thanks Pearl.

Steadfast Ahoy! said...

I was actually writing out opening lines this AM looking for good beginnings to hear peoples' stories (everybody has one). "Busy since yesterday?" would even be a good one, because every day has something goin' on.
Rosemary

Steadfast Ahoy! said...

Pearl, you inspired me! I linked your post in mine today. Check it out!
Rosemary