gum chewing at its finest

A major component of my happiness in life is my being annoyingly friendly and feeling quite comfortable walking up to total stranger and starting a conversation, preferrable assisting in helping them smile or laugh. A gift lovingly passed on to me by my friendly and gracious father.

I write in hopes of lighting a fire under your butt and implore you all to be open to the “opportunity” to meet, greet and converse with people will open your heart to the wonders of our fellow man. I am confident as I speak from experience that this being more open to the myriad of souls and their lives will improve, brighten and enlarge your life. I am convinced that if more of us looked at connecting with people within our day-to-day, within our communities in this way, that the world would gradually and consistently become a friendlier and happier place.

An interesting conversation arose recently after I was allowed to share a bus stop bench to rest my bones with what was apparently instant acceptance into an open conversation, by a mother and her son when I offered each a piece of gum. Mom didn’t say much during our twenty-minute group session, she chose instead to nod in approval as she gleefully discovered that I had presented them with bubblegum and she being so much more impressed than her son, our diminutive sage.

So there we sat at a bus stop bench with our bags of 99 cent store treasure, chewing away in anticipation of a first attempt to “bubble up”, inviting the scrutiny of our seated judges and all passers-by. The anticipation of who might speak next laid heavy in the air as a reckless soul not willing to covet honorary reign over the challengers abilities with an overly impressive sphere of pink goodness, I stepped up with my first offering of glowing happiness with a semi impressive medium-large wafting globual.

What did impress the massive crowd was the intense explosion opon popping, as it garnered the attention of a man passing slowly by who was obviously allergic to water and soap. As he carried his many large bags of empty plastic bottles over one shoulder like a recycling Santa, he too was impressed as a wry smile worked its way to his unshaven and filthy mug as he whispered “nice one.” Almost as if he had held up a score card of 7 1/2 into view allowing a new conversation and deeper questions into my soul by the very young therapist.

The beaming child and I began an in-depth conversation about life, love and the dangers of wandering too close to the roadway, his concern why the passing bottle man who was repeatedly flicking a disposable lighter had gained our attention. What was he trying to lite the boy asked, was he intending to start a fire by igniting the pungent aroma wafting behind him as he walked? The spark created by the spinning the tiny wheel over and over again was most likely due to his fascination with sparks flying into the air, the young man agreed and we continued…

As with most sessions where the doctor and patient sat comfortably in the mid day sun, chewing pink sticky sweetness, the boy broke into a question and answer session with a tense salvo by asking me first – “do you have a dog.” No I replied, but assured him that I loved all dogs and asked him if he thought the best canines were of the small or large variety. His even quicker and wiser response from years of experience and wisdom, “all dogs are best” he said. He added quietly that he thought it unfair that you couldn’t take our furry friends on the bus with us for a ride, so having agreed with what’s wrong with the world in this sense, with nods of simple acceptance, chewing more vigorously now.

The silence was broken once again when Mom rose up from her silent seat, sat on the edge of the bench, gathered all her physical strength and with her first mighty attempt at bubble blowing in this formidable competition, she accidentally spit her wad of bright pink elasticity into the street. The sad tension was as thick as the night until she broke into a laugh that could be heard for miles, followed by an obvious sadness quickly suppressed when I offered her more.

So, the potential trauma was beaten back and the conversation continued with apparently a semi-natural transition from dogs to boats. His next series of questions obviously designed to help release more hidden, dark information.

He looked at me intently with a steely gaze as he expressed his concern with how people who lived on boats could find the bathroom at night without falling overboard. He was delighted once informed that most of the bigger boats had toilets on board, below the top deck and near the bedrooms or sleeping quarters. What got us all a chuckle again when this sailor of other people’s boats informed them that a boat’s bathroom was actually called a “head” and that they even flushed like those in his home.

Having come to terms with so many of life’s challenges and perplexing questions in such a short time has once again offered a new and simpler view of existence. As I bid farewell to my new friends I handed my last two pieces of gum to the Madre with an anticipation of blowing future bubbles would improve their day or even more of a warm, fuzzy feeling, to improve the life of two other strangers. That was one of the best 99 cent purchases I have ever made.

Give and you shall receive!

“Let your mind wander in the pure and simple. Be one with the infinite. Let all things take their course.” ~ Unknown

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