Every day the same old man attempts to sell me, and anyone else who falls into his pleading buy trap, the same product. And every day he fails to sell his less than indispensable merchandise.
The old man in question has a weary, weathered face befitting his age. He looks at least 80 though he could easily be closer to 142. I’ve always had difficulties accurately gauging a person’s age, females in particular, this has lead to many “interesting” situations.
Regardless, this relic of a man has seen more changes in this world than you or I have had hot/cold/just right dinners. His ancient bones easily carry his slight frame up and down the same street every day with ease. Always spruiking the same item, eternally optimistic.
The number of people who’ve chosen not to purchase this man’s most revered possession must number in their tens of thousands. I personally watched hundreds of people every day, from every country imaginable, every walk of life, offer nothing more than a cursory glance at the man before continuing on their egocentric way.
No one appears interested.
People from all over the world seem to have come directly to this point in space and time to neglect the beauty of this man’s most prized possession, despite his economically driven persistence. More often than not the prospective customer barely acknowledges the man’s existence. Those that do don’t look him in the eye.
No, it’s obvious that this man doesn’t deserve the simple privilege of an acknowledged existence. The man most likely thinks he’s already dead. A ghost; the way people walk through his small intrusion into their decadent lives.
Every day his prized possession is worth less and less.
It gets to the point where all that he is asking for is a single dollar. One hundred cents. Most of the people passing by would earn that every 2 minutes, or less.
Still, there were no takers. The old man obviously doesn’t factor in the monetary value required to recognise him as a sentient being.
Seeing myself as slightly superior to the usual person I decide to be a shining paragon of virtue. An example to every man, woman and child that couldn’t, or wouldn’t, meet this gentle man’s gaze. To those who would deny his place in this world outright by completely ignoring him and his humble trade request.
Sensing my empathy, he held his product towards me.
For the 16th time in half as many days.
I hold his gaze. It’s natural for a man to hold another man’s gaze.
He could tell as well as I that we were bonding on a more than economic level and gesticulates his prop in my direction again, this time with added vigour. I take this sincere moment in time to share with this man, my equal, my predilection for honesty. I look him dead in the eyes and begin my truth.
“Sir”, I say in my most reverential tone, “I don’t want your bone statue. I didn’t want it yesterday, and I won’t want it tomorrow. No disrespect intended, I’m just saying.”
“Ok boss”, he says, giving me the thumbs up and grinning like the Cheshire Cat before meandering away on his never ending quest.
I grin right back.
We both know we’ll have the same conversation tomorrow.