You may recall that my post way back on Day 2 featured a man I ran into downtown who sells a newspaper called Outreach Connection: Helping the Homeless and Unemployed.
I ran into him again today and bought another paper, but this time I thought I’d stop for a bit longer and chat with him instead of rushing off like I usually do.
It’s not that I’m completely unfriendly (okay, sometimes that is true) — I’m just shy. To me, striking up a conversation with a stranger can be as terrifying as approaching a growling dog. And I often react to both the same way — it’s safer to just cross the street.
But since I’d actually spoken before to this man, albeit briefly, and I am making an effort to be kinder and gentler these days, I really went out on a limb and said, “Hi, how are you today?” when I paid for the paper.
“I am fine,” he said. As he handed it to me, he pointed to his picture in the bottom right-hand corner of the front page and his “Notable Quotable” alongside it.
“I do one every week.” He smiled up at me from the milk crate he sat on.
“A different quote every week, that’s great,” I said lamely. “Where do you get your ideas, the library?”
“No, I have a book at home that I use. Each week a different quote,” he nodded.
I wanted to say something encouraging but all I could come up with was another, “That’s great.”
I wished him well and decided to deny him any further examples of my witty repartee. I didn’t end up reading his quote of the day until I got on the subway. I laughed when I did:
by John Singh
“I always find it more difficult to say the things I mean than the things I don’t.”
— W. Somerset Maugham
Ain’t it the truth….