Kids say hi. On my walk, they try to imitate me and my wacky stride, but they always say hi. Even the awkward pre-teens. There is this one little dude that seems like he has an ongoing conversation in his brain when he is walking (mmm…kind of familiar) but always asks me how I am when I walk by. One day his pant leg was stuck in his bike chain and he didn’t want help. He wanted to figure it out for himself. So I kind of hung out for a bit and he reminded me and said, “Really, I got this.” Cool. He is not there still, so apparently he did indeed have it.
Most of the jr. high kids are kind of shy, but eventually they huff out a, “Hey”. I do not see too many high school kids walking to and from school these days. They either get a ride from their friends, parents or drive themselves. Every so often I will walk by this awesome African American high school dude. Very tall, thin, glasses and always has his headphones on. He. Is. Always. Singing. Always. He has a great voice. I cross the street to walk near, just to hear him. He never says hi, but I give him a pass, because he is creating & lost in his musical wonderment. I want to stop him one day and ask what he wants to do with this beautiful gift. And then I think, maybe he is doing what he wants to do with his gift. Maybe singing himself home is enough.
On my walk I sometimes pass people within inches on the sidewalk. You kind of have to acknowledge one another. It’s an unwritten suburban Texas rule. (although when I was in California in the fall, I took a couple of 6am walks on the beach and everyone said hi. They were so happy to be 1. Alive 2. On the dang beach 3. Retired.) So I say hi to everyone. Granted there are maybe only 5 or 6 folks that I walk by on my 3-4 miler, so not too many. There is this one dude though… that n e v e r says hi. He kind of 1/2 smiles and walks right by. It totally bugs me, because I do say hi…every time…and he doesn’t say hi back. He is not wearing headphones and he is not hard of hearing. He just isn’t a “Hi” guy. I do not know if this particular dude is creating in his head or just ignoring me. I think he hates that I am so walk-y and talk-y. Maybe he really wants to be walking on the beach in So Cal, but 1. He is not retired enough and 2. well that’s all I can come up with. I know in the book, The Four Agreements, the number two agreement is “Do not Take Things Personally”. I am usually pretty good about that, but I kind of take quiet-dude personally. Tomorrow I will not say hi. I will just stare at him. Like I’ll just stop and stare. See what happens there.
But then after I make that grand statement, I come across this beautiful passage from one of my favorite books, The Gift.. (poems by Hafiz, the great Sufi Master), that I read a couple of times a week. I love this book.
Where is the door to God?
In the sound of a barking dog,
In the ring of a hammer,
In a drop of rain,
In the face of
Well dang-it. I just want the no-hi-guy to acknowledge me one time. Now I have to honor the fact that he is my brother in spirit and brother doesn’t have to say hi if he does not want to. I will stare at him with love instead of power. I will bless him as he walks on by. I will still say hi, even though he will not say hi back. Maybe in his blog he talks about this lady saying hi to him and how he isn’t going to budge. This power struggle in the suburbs is out of hand. I think we need counseling.
My whole point of the story….that I was planning on talking about…that I totally got off track with n.h.g. is this: You never know what a simple act can do. Acknowledge others. Smile. Be kind when the kid in the fast food window is shy and awkward. Be light. Buy the impatient car behind you a cup of coffee. Look people in the eye. Put away your phone when you are in a waiting room, in line, on a bus, at a restaurant. Listen more than talk. Give the guy a buck that you know is going to go off and buy a beer on the street corner. We all have our stories. Today is good. Today may we create peace instead of dissonance. The door to God might be you.
May 24 6:42 PM fixin’ to walk
I will say hi. Again.