Sunday, April 22, 2007

The Good, the Bad, and the Beautiful

The Good - Sometimes people enter our lives without us even realizing the impact they have on us. Yesterday, I realized who one of those people has been for me. He is an older man who begs for money on the N train, though he takes a completely different tactic than anybody else I've ever seen. He enters your car with a huge smile on his face, holding dollar bills that others have given him with the one finger remaining on his left hand or the three fingers remaining on his right hand. He smiles and speaks to you as if you were a coworker in his office: Beautiful day out, how are things going, and so on. He says, "If you can give money I'd appreciate it, if you can't just give me a smile." Then he goes about getting every single person on the train to smile through silly jokes or compliments or gentle cajoling. I've often seen an entire car-load of people sharing laughter by the time we get to the next stop and he leaves to go to another traincar. Whenever he's been on the train I have experienced momentary community with the strangers seated around me. Next time I'll have to tell him thank you.

The Bad - Friday night I got a phone call from a friend who just ended chemotherapy treatment about two months ago. Her cancer is back already, and I was shocked by the realization that cancer that has come back is far more scary than cancer for the first time. I'm mostly over the shock now and getting back into my usual take-it-day-by-day mode. Tomorrow, she'll actually be here, and I'm looking forward to doing some sight-seeing and general catching-up.

The Beautiful - A strange turn of topics, I know, but I'd like to mention Oprah. I have a love-hate relationship with Oprah which has just swung back over to the love side of the spectrum. If you did not catch her Green episode on Friday, you definitely need to visit the website. She discussed the small habits you can change to do your part to protect our beautiful earth. I grew up in a home where we were instilled with a deep love of nature, but it has only been in the past few years that I have become more cognizant of the daily things I do that should be improved to show a little more respect for nature. I've made a few goals for myself, and would encourage you to do the same. We should all make an Earth Day's Resolution...and keep it.

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