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Tuesday, December 25, 2012

It Doesn't 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, however, 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 for me that some human beings are, indeed, dirty, stinking, law-breaking and potentially lethal obstacles.

And that many are not.

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

“Fun is a relative term,” I smiled.

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, straight-faced and serious. “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?


Merry Christmas, everyone.  And have a nice day.

30 comments:

Bossy Betty said...

Merry Christmas, Pearl. Having a nice day? Well, yes I am. Thanks for helping me notice it.

ellen abbott said...

I do try to be cognizant of when I'm having a nice day. most are. you have a wonderfully nice day today.

vanilla said...

Thank you; and may all your days be merry and bright.

Macy said...

Merry Christmas Pearl. Let's all have a nice day, today of all days!

Lisa Golden said...

Merry Christmas!

I have a friend who says "Pay attention, there's a story everywhere you look."

You've shared with us the truth in that. That's one of the best gifts ever.

joeh said...

Merry Chrithmath!

Nessa Roo said...

That was the most touching post I've read by you. Have a wonderful day, Pearl!

Nessa Roo said...

Actually, I take that back. The one where you had baked potatoes in your pockets made me smile AND cry. But still, have a good Christmas.

Daisy said...

Made me smile. :) Thanks! Merry Christmas to you, Pearl!

terlee said...

Happy Hols, Pearl...

TexWisGirl said...

amen.

i stopped at our local hardware store yesterday, trying to find a shower door hinge thingy. the employee behind the counter told me to check aisle 16, blah blah blah. a woman who was there, shopping herself, said 'follow me!' took me to two different areas that i hadn't yet looked to find suitable parts in varying volume packages. she spent time with me out of the goodness of her heart. i told her she was my christmas angel. she restored my faith in humanity that day. :)

Kathleen McCoy said...

Merry Christmas, Pearl, and thanks for the lesson in noticing -- from the great diversity of valuable people in our world to the wonders of a nice day!

Rawknrobyn.blogspot.com said...

Merry Christmas and a nice day to you as well, Pearl.

xoRobyn

Lo said...

Love Ya', Pearl.
Hope 2013 is a good one for you.

Love, Lo

Red said...

Yes too many of us get too serious and miss the point. I like how you have pointed out that we can be happy and not recognize it.

esbboston said...

Marry Christmas! (I repeated a typo that one of my children did earlier in the weak, maybe yesterday.)

Gigi said...

Merry Christmas, Pearl! And lets go one better, I hope you've had a WONDERFUL day!

Juli said...

Every day I am having fun... some days I just need a better definition of "fun".

:)

Enjoy your day Pearl... I got a new pillow for Christmas, and I have spent much time testing it out.

Now THAT is a great day for me.

Munir said...

Nice reflections and good observations indeed.

Geo. said...

True, it doesn't need to be complex but sometimes it just needs to be in French: Mon Flaneuse incomparable, Joyeux Noël.

Ms Sparrow said...

Lovely post. Have a good one!

klahanie said...

Hey Pearl,

I try to have a nice day by trying to make others have a nice day. Of course, when somebody says "Have a nice day!" I might be well tempted to say, "Don't tell me what kind of day to have!" Would I do that?

And this "strip mall", now that got me curious :) You are quite daring in America, aren't you? LOL

Hope you had a peaceful, positive Christmas Day.

Your really nice fan, Gary :)

Eva Gallant said...

We need to be reminded that any day we are upright, walking, and breathing is a nice day!

Jo-Anne Meadows said...

Even I forget at times to enjoy life and be thankful for the nice days I have and my nice days out weight my rotten days..........

River said...

I like coming here and reading things that make me smile.
You have a nice day now.

the walking man said...

Does Thai food count as Christmas joy? If so yeah it was a good day. But no some of us haven't been busy since HS...4 years in the navy 4 years on the road...3 years married...3 more years getting divorced...a few decades being remarried and then forced into retirement well before 50...thank God for tobacco and first graders that need help learning to read oh yeah and poetry and hosting open mics and all the other shit i barely have time to get done.

jenny_o said...

Most of us are lucky beyond belief, when we look at our comfort compared to many around the globe ... thanks for the reminder. Beautiful post.

Inspector Clouseau said...

There is nothing like public transportation.

Roshni AaMom said...

Hope you had a wonderful time with your loved ones, Pearl!

The Elephant's Child said...

Wonderful post. Thank you. And, I have just finished The Second Book of Pearl, for which treat, megathanks.