Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Too Happy?

Each morning I drop my son off at school and head off to work. When I leave the school I pass a crossing guard who is probably somewhere around 75 years old. But this elderly woman is not a typical crossing guard. As each car drives by, she waves and smiles. If the person in the car acknowledges her, they not only get a smile and a wave, but they get a "I'm pointing at you because we just connected". (In other words, she points at you as if to say, "thanks for returning the kind gesture back to me"). When I drive by, I make a point to give her the "wave, smile, AND the point" before she does. Now, when she sees my car in the distance I can see her preparing for a bigger "wave, smile, and point" than I can give. This morning while driving by I actually got a two-handed point and wave. I know what you are thinking, "this is exactly how all scandalous relationships with 75 year old women begin". But the truth is, I think it is nice to see someone who seems happy with life.
Happy-Crossing-Guard-Lady reminds me of another person I used to see early on in my marriage when I had to drive my wife to work. Each morning I would drive by this particular home for the elderly and an older woman would be sitting in her wheelchair waving at every car that passed by. Just like Happy-Crossing-Guard-Lady, this woman's whole body would tremble with joy if she received a smile and wave. I used to think that it was so nice to have someone trying to remind people to take some time to be nice just for a minute. I also used to wonder why so many people would drive right by without waving. For a while I actually believed that I was the only one who did wave and I realized that if I didn't drive by her each day and wave, she might not have another person respond with kindness. To be honest, this pressure of making this lady's day was a lot for me to bare.
Then one day I drove by and she was not there. The next day I drove by and she wasn't there but her wheelchair was. And near her wheel chair lay a bouquet of flowers. By the end of the week, this wheel chair was buried in flowers, balloons, and candles lit in this woman's honor. I took a day or two to get over the shock of losing this joyful friend, then I got over the shock of finding out I was not the only one who brought joy to her life, and then I had to face the reality that in this world, people like Happy-Crossing-guard-Lady and my friend in the wheelchair are rare.
Allow me to propose to you that we need more overly happy people like these. We need people like the owner of my local coffee shop who is so joyful that I am sure she drinks too much of her own product. We need people who are not fake, but who really want to be a little nicer to those around them. So next time you see someone wave at you, randomly say "hi" to you, or just give a smile and some eye contact, give it back. Catch yourself each time you get annoyed because someone seems "too happy" and just accept the fact that some people have their priorities in order. Oh yeah, and if you see Happy-Crossing-Guard-Lady, say "hi" but keep your distance, she is mine.

1 comment:

ninjanun said...

You just about made me cry.

Great story, and great thoughts