People Who Need People

The Buddhist teacher Pema Chodron advises us to cultivate curiosity, to promote loving kindness in ourselves so that we extend it to others. Even to strangers, which is why I smile or say hello to the most disheveled people walking my way.

All my life I’ve tried to find common ground with those I disagree with. I’m getting better at it. Finally. We all have our stereotypes. I used to really dislike Southerners.

Walking in our hood…the homeowner and sculptress chatted with us and gave us the cucumber she had just harvested. Such nice people live in Linden Hills!

Moving from my urban apartment to Marc’s house in lovely Linden Hills, selling most of my furniture, has been instructive. I didn’t know who would show up. People fascinate me.

In comes young, friendly Architect Guy to buy my orange chair for his modern living room. We get talking, like I always do.

He’s a Minnesota native. “I used to believe in all that good humanitarian stuff but LA did me in. I lived in MacArthur Park,” he tells me. “I had a gun put to my head. There were gangs all around.”

Happy with the orange chair, he cheerfully asks, “Got anything else to sell?”

Carrying an old wooden desk out to his car together, we get deeper into conversation. “I used to be a Democrat. Now I’m a Republican.”

“Oh no, you can’t be a Trumper!” I retort.

“I’m a Republican, I said. Yeah, he’s loony but I care about inflation now. And the price of gas.”

First I try to make sense to him, calling out the mafioso, truly insane crook that Trump is.

As I help Architect Guy lift the desk into his car I realize, He’s made his decision. There’s no use trying to convince him otherwise. Let him be, Sheila.

He hands me a $100 bill from his glove compartment.

At first, Architect guy doesn’t think the desk will fit into his car. I’m optimistic. I take pride in knowing that I’m right. I keep that to myself.

I think of him when a young Hispanic couple comes to pick up my free futon. The woman, who was bigger than her scrawny guy, is wearing blue scrubs.

“Are you a doctor?” I ask. “No, I’m a med tech,” she replies. I imagine my question making her feel good. She takes charge of unscrewing the futon parts, directing Scrawny Guy’s use of his Allen wrench, and the futon’s welcome removal from my apartment. Her guy’s humongous shiny shorts, nearly falling down to expose his ass, reminded me of my stereotype of those LA gang members Architect Guy abhors.

Scrawny Guy is also wearing a backwards baseball cap, a sure sign that he was a drug dealer (what my U.S. History teacher replacement at Mt.Desert Island High School told the kids back in 1990).

“Now we’ll have a place for Teresa and Matt to sleep when they visit this weekend,” says the woman excitedly.

“Yeah, let’s put it in the living room. It’s so nice,” responds Scrawny Guy. “Thank you so much!” he turns away from his girlfriend, hurling a big smile my way.

And, there you have it.

This entry was posted in America WTF?, Fight wimpiness, Managing Minneapolis, Politics, The Rest of the World and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to People Who Need People

  1. MARC BURGETT says:

    An important typo that you should correct I think. “I’m a republican,” he said; not I said.

    I know you didn’t intend it this way, but I think your writing about the Hispanic couple would sound to some readers like you were stereotyping.

    YLM 💚

    Sent from my iPhone

  2. sydvinflynn says:

    Thank you! Very enjoyable piece, Sheila!We could just picture the various customers you had and you made them all into such a fun read.Keep up the great work!Love,S and V

  3. sheilawill says:

    Thanks, dear friends! Looking forward to seeing you in a few minutes!!

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