People I Talk To

This morning, as I was walking from the parking garage to my office, a homeless man tried to take my orange juice.  It's because I made eye contact with him and smiled.  He was standing on the corner in my direct line of sight when I checked to see if the light had changed.  I didn't want to be rude, so I smiled in recognition of his existence.  He began to follow me across the street saying, "you want that juice? hey, you want the rest of that juice?!"  Well, I did want my juice, so I said, "yes, sorry."  Then the light turned red and we were in the middle of the street, so I hurried up a bit.  But it was only to get out of the street.  I didn't want him to think I was running from him.  Even though he was scaring me a little.  He turned off at the next corner.

Then it occurred to me.  Who was that homeless man?  And who was I in relation to him?  I don't know if he was crazy or just hungry.  I don't know where he was coming from or where he was going.  He didn't know that my juice wasn't even orange.  It was Juma juice that I bought from the yoga studio that morning.  It was expensive and I bought with the intention of making it last for 2 days.  Just because he is homeless doesn't mean that I have to martyr my juice.  At the same time, I realize that I could have just given him my damn juice.

The whole encounter inspired me to restart my blog.  This time I have purpose, a theme!  I'm going to write about the people I talk to, the people who I cross paths with.  Sometimes the crossing are brief, but I can't help but feel that they all change something in the universe.  The universe changes every time we run into each other.  If people in our modern world are avoiding each other, what kind of energy is the universe missing out on?

Sometimes I approach people, and most of the time they seem to approach me.  I think this is a symptom of  what the internet has coined "resting nice face".  It's fine, because I do love talking to people.  And I've got a whole slew of people to write about already!  There was the Jamaican man at the bus stop yesterday, and the lottery winner on the train last week.  My favorite is Ms. Niki, the crossing guard at the school across the street from my house.  Least favorite goes to the 4:45pm bus driver.

Talking with people is a wondrous thing.  There are so many emotions to go through: surprise, disbelief, fear, empathy, confusion, embarrassment.  It's a tough job, but someone has to do it.  I'll be like the HONY guy, except in Houston and with no camera.  It'll be my little anthropology project on the side.  An ethnography of greater Houston and all it's crazy, wonderful people.


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