Wednesday, March 16, 2011

What Does it Mean When I Start Relating to the Crazy Guy on the Street Corner?

So... on my way to the metrolink station today, I saw an older gentleman way ahead of me at an intersection that sees a lot of begging.  I usually smile and cross the street as I have no extra money to give (and I know several of them that do this as a scam- one lady has been "pregnant" for 2 1/2 years now).  But as I walked closer, I noticed something a little off.

No cardboard sign.  And he wasn't going up to the car windows, but I could tell he was making some kind of gesture towards the cars.  Nothing rude, but also, it didn't look like he was asking for money, either.  When I approached the intersection, I realized I had just missed the "walk" sign.

I began to see, then, that all this guy was doing was directing traffic in his own little way.  There were no lights that were out, and the cars pretty much dismissed him since he was clearly not uniformed.  So I had the pleasure of watching this guy for a good couple of minutes.  He seemed to be deriving some sort of organizational pleasure from this activity. 

In this world that often doesn't make sense, he was making sense out of an ebb and flow of people in their cars going about their daily business.  Who knows how long he was out there; he was gone when I returned from my appointment about an hour and a half later.  Maybe he went to another intersection.  Maybe he got bored.  Maybe someone yelled at him.  Maybe he got his "fix" for the day.

He turned around and barely noticed me before I crossed the street.  I flashed him a smile and walked on.  He seemed more interested in the oncoming traffic and making sure it went the way it was supposed to.  He was making sense out of his life through this meditative movement.  If I could go back and say anything to him, it would be: "I get it, dude.  I totally get it."