The Greeter

Steve and his Cohiba

Steve and his Cohiba

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?

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4 responses to “The Greeter

  1. One thing of the greatest importance I learned growing up in SE Asia is the joy of acknowledging every single human being who crosses one’s path. Here in Mérida and everywhere in the countryside and villages, it seems even more important–the look of surprise, then the slow smile, then the enormous grin and enthusiastic wave back whether from the armed to the teeth police or the tiniest abuelita making her way down the street—it is one of the few ways I have of saying thank you for sharing your humanity with me—thank you for allowing me to know this incredibly glorious and welcoming place—-and who doesn’t love getting the warm and kind “vaya bien” from everyone as we walk from place to place?
    We’re going to miss you guys, but you’re going to miss this corner of heaven on earth even more.

  2. Beautiful. Such simple things can mean so much to so many people. It is good to know we have brought sunshine to others lives and in return we receive 10 times in return. Way to go Steve.

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