There is a stretch of road, between Greenwich and Battenville, NY (on Rt. 29) that has been under construction for a few weeks and whenever possible, I take this route because of one man. I don’t know his name or anything about his background, but I wouldn’t have to describe his physical features for you to figure out who he is also.
His (official) job is to stop and start traffic, but while he’s flagging people through, he looks right in your eyes, (like he’s looking to see a friend) and then he waves, smiles and sometimes even dances as he throws his arms open wide and says, “Have a great day!” or some other equally happy comment. I love seeing him because somehow it feels like he really sees me. As I drove past him yesterday, I rolled down my window and said, “You know the secret of life don’t you!?” and he shook his head yes and gave me a beautiful smile.
This is in such stark contrast to an experience that I’d had at the grocery store a couple of days earlier. I’d gotten in line behind a woman (who I know a little bit) and we both said “Hi”. Then a man (also know him a little) got in line behind me, didn’t say hi, but noticed the woman in front of me and said, “Hi…..!” and then they started up a very friendly conversation, with me standing between them. It had nothing to do with me, but I felt oddly left out.
As cool as they were to me, I wasn’t gushing effusively over them either because we don’t really know each other. But the flag man doesn’t know everyone who drives past him, and this doesn’t stop him from being right out there with his friendly open greeting….hum. I wonder if I could be that friendly or would I be afraid of looking silly or inappropriate? I might feel embarrassed if my greeting wasn’t returned or worse, looked on with scorn.
All of these reasons for holding back; all of them reasonable and logical. And not one of them capable of bringing more life, laughter or love to my (or anyone else’s) life.