I see him standing on the sidewalk of the main drag. He has his music on, always. Always.
You can easily tell that he loves his music because he dances. He moves and he dances while waiting for the bus. He dances his walk. He takes six steps, bounces, turns, walks back and bounces some more. He’s grooving.
He smiles almost constantly. And he gestures to the traffic. He’ll pull the rope for a trucker. He’ll hold out his phone toward drivers at the intersection, as if he’s showing everyone, or encouraging them to listen to how cool it is. Occasionally he’ll pump his arms into the air above his head – some kind of victory move, some kind of superpower he feels in his bones.
He waves at anyone, everyone, randomly, as if knowing that doing so is not only just the thing you do, but also how you pass on the love. And as he does so, he dances, moves, constantly. This kid has a motor inside of him.
I have no idea how old he is. He works at Albertson’s as a “courtesy clerk” – the company’s pretty name for a grunt that bags groceries, collects carts, and keeps the entrances cleaned up. You’d think this kid had volunteered for it. He moves with purpose, and knows his job. He is usually smiling while he works, his eyes wide open and active. He has no fear of eye contact. If he happens to catch your eye, he’ll say “Hi,” or “Hello,” and accompany that with a signature wave. He seems to pick people out as they walk through the parking lot. “Hi!” he’ll shout from the next parking aisle, even if you didn’t see him there.
Later, you’ll be driving through the downtown core and see him standing on the corner, doing his thing. He wears a backpack but sometimes takes it off and lets it sit while he jives. Obviously, he has no scruples, no social filters, no apparent shame or shyness, no reservations. He never accosts, never assaults, disrupts, or disturbs. He does not scream at anyone or talk to himself. If you happen to walk by him, you’ll hear him singing. And he’ll address you: “Hey! How you doing? Yeah, man, yeah!” Like, daring you to join him in the dance.
He’s just wide open and all out, all out loud. He is living out loud.
Would you hazard any guesses as to what’s wrong with him? Would you feel compelled to play analyst? Would you, without reflection, jump into that seat?
Not me. I watch him. I’m aware that he’s weird. Odd. Abnormal. Non-conformist. Maybe he’s even got a diagnosis, although I seriously doubt he gives a shit.
Frankly, a part of me wishes I was just like him, but I’m not. So I’ll keep watching. And cheer him on behind the wheel. And be thankful there are folks like him. Grooving to his beat, easing on down the road.
Easing on down the road, and not, like me, carrying some heavy load.