Monday, September 21, 2009
Who Are the People in Your Neighborhood?
Do you have "Everyday Friends"? You know, the people that you encounter in your daily routine that you sort of know, but you don't really know--like the UPS man, the pharmacist, or the chicky who pours your coffee at your morning stop. I can chat it up big time with these folks, sharing a laugh, or telling them a story, all without ever knowing their name.
I have lots of Everyday Friends. Maybe because I like to talk or perhaps I'm just friendly, I don't know. I just end up chatting it up with the likes of the check-out gal at Walmart and the manager dude at my local Hallmark store. I actually go to shop at these stores looking for my pallies, and I think they like it when I come in too.
I once had a pharmacist pally at the Target near my house. At the time, I was on prescription iron pills and pre-natal vitamins for the anemia I was battling. Whenever I would come to pick up the prescriptions, he would always ask me (jokingly) when was I "due" and would proceed to tell me how I "didn't show". He would wink, telling me it was all in fun, and I would make some wise-acre comment back each and every time I went there. He was sweet as pie and I would love to go get prescriptions because, well, he was a pally.
I actually cried real tears when I heard that he didn't make it through a routine surgery--I felt like I knew this guy even though I don't think I even knew his name. Try explaining that one to your family. I had lost an Everyday Friend.
My mailman had been with us for years, when one day he dropped the bomb on me that his route was being changed. Juan and I have chatted a lot over the years--well, you know as much as the mailman stops to chat.
Juan and I talked about his love of the hot weather and disdain for the cold. I would leave him a cold bottle of water on those super hot days and he would hunt out my mailbox around the yard when we had construction on the front of the house. He popped in to inspect the new family room after construction and I would tell him wacky stories of the people who replaced him while he was on his day off.
We compare cool vacation spots and he gives me updates on where he's going year after year. I live vicariously through Juan and his vacations. He's on this quest to see the United States, and I encourage him by giving him tips to the cool places we've been. I love to hear about his trips and I tease him year after year that I'm going with him. I think maybe Juan and I could kick butt on the Amazing Race. Could you see the post under our names on the screen--"Mail Carrier and Customer"? Geesh, it would be hilarious, wouldn't it? Imagine if we won.
Anywho. Juan gets his route changed last year and I'm bummed. New mail carrier is BORING--won't even say "hi" or anything. Imagine my delight when, months later, I was parked on the other side of the 'hood waiting for one of the kids and I see Juan delivering his mail.
"Juan!" I'm yelling out my car window and waving like a fool. I think I scared him.
"Hey!" he yells back. "I'm going to DC next week!" and I laugh.
Everyday friends. You can't beat 'em.
Just a few weeks ago, I spy Juan across the street--back in our 'hood. I stopped my bike and yell to him--I do a lot of yelling to Juan, apparently. He comes over and he tells me that he got his route back, the other dude retired.
"Yeah, he wouldn't say 'hi' to me, Juan. He was crabby." I report.
"That's what everyone is saying." he tells me. So, I guess my Everyday Friend is a lot of people's Everyday Friend. But that's okay, I'll share him.
So, life is back to normal now. Juan delivers my mail, I wave at him when he's getting the mail out of his truck a few blocks over, and we chat every now and then.
He's going to Niagra Falls and to Toronto next. I got the full report as Juan was delivering mail across the street. Yeah, this time he yelled to me.