Almost every morning Joel and I hop on our scooters for the 10-minute ride to our favorite breakfast hangout (Cafe Pistache formerly Cafe la Boheme), come rain or shine we’re there like clockwork. You could set your clock by our punctuality. We’ve been doing this for almost 2-1/2 years. And during those 2-1/2 years we’ve passed the same old man (every morning) sitting on a simple plastic chair, in front of his house, enjoying the cool of the morning; watching the city come alive around him in the early morning hours. And every morning we simply rode by—noticing, but never acknowledging.
About 3-weeks ago I decided to do something different. I decided to wave to him as I rode by. The first time I did this he looked startled and surprised—a couple of crazy gringos riding by on their scooters, one red and one black, waving like idiots. Now he anticipates our passage, and often initiates the greeting himself (usually with a big smile, and sometimes a soft shout of recognition). It has become a morning ritual for all of us.
We know nothing about him, and he knows nothing about us. We are just 3 people sharing a human interaction. I suppose we’ll have to pull over to the curb before we leave to tell him that he won’t be seeing us anymore. It’s a simple ritual, nothing special, but its become an important part of our day. I will miss it. And him—The Greeter. He appears to be somewhere in his 80’s and I think he enjoys the rapid exchange of pleasantries every morning as much as we do—at least his broad smile would indicate that’s the case. A simple thing. Why didn’t I do it sooner?