Smiles are free.

Every morning as I walk down Cherry under the I-5 overpass, there is a rather cheerful, 40-something African American man wearing a knit cap and standing on the side of the road with a ragged-looking cardboard sign, asking for spare change from the cars waiting at the stoplight. And every morning he does nothing more than wave, send me a large, beaming smile and shout “Good morning!” across the busy street.  He’s never once asked me for money.  
I never realized how I appreciated his greetings until he was gone for a few days and replaced by a curmudgeonly, withered old man who said nothing, just held his sign with a glowering look on his face.  It’s funny how we don’t notice things until they’re absent.  But then lo, this morning there he was, as usual, making sure I could hear him over my headphones.

And I thought…if he can have the sort of life that calls for spending his mornings under an overpass asking for money and still manages to give large beaming smile every day…why do we let ourselves get so upset and frustrated over trivialities?  Traffic, the internet being slow, lines taking too long at the grocery store…Facebook not loading properly.  Everything has become so automated and instantaneous that the slightest inconvenience sends us ranting.  Perhaps it’s the people who are disconnected and unplugged from all the gadgets and the internets that know simple happiness.

I appreciate this daily reminder to slow down, enjoy my walk and prioritize. 

It’s just unfortunate I forget it by the time my inbox at work starts overflowing.  😉



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