Written by Elfy
There is a man standing at the junction of two busy roads near my house. He is there everyday. Selling newspapers between two lanes of traffic. Most people don’t see him or notice him. I’d like to tell you why I did.
In the winter every dark, wet, blustery evening I saw him standing there selling papers in the dark. Rush hour traffic whizzing past and there I was in traffic, moaning in my head or busy being irritated about some-one or something, mostly myself. I saw Charlie on the road in his rain gear, a small flask on the wall with a lunchbox and there he stood papers in hand shouting hello to people who stopped to roll down their windows in the rain.
What irritated me was the fact he was so happy. His face was light and his eyes were genuine and just radiated goodness. Know why that irritated me? Because all the talk therapy, chanting and things can’t give me or you that. He probably isn’t even aware how jolly he is. He just is. I started noticing the words he used to people, respectful and dignified. “How are you this evening Sir?”
I wasn’t driving then so I had to walk past the “ready-break” man, all aglow in the wet, dull evening. Amidst all the congestion and pollution there he stands each day waving as you pass. My daughter (a teenager with big personality) well she’s a good judge of character. She said to me “Oh my God mam he is so genuinely jolly, there is no badness in his face, no resentment or ill will”.
So I started to look forward to waving at Charlie on my walk home from work. He has a menial job, he is standing between cars getting splashed and he’s a free spirit that is rare. It made me realise the “when I have the promotion, the car, the relationship, the body, the house, the degrees”, it’s not real. He has a cap job on the Howth road and he shines like a light bulb. And it has taught me a valuable lesson. When you CHOOSE to feel act and think that way it comes true. There is no happiness over the rainbow. It’s a choice.
I asked him his name today as I passed. “Charles” he said, then he chuckled a big chuckle saying “But you can call me Prince Charles”. And I thought to myself, your the nearest thing to a prince in a muddy puddle I’ve met on my doorstep. An example. You just decide to be like that. It’s a choice.
So I hear my grumbles and complaints as I meet people who live with integrity no matter if they have the crap job or no car or no promotion or no house. A little flask and a lunchbox and a smile for everyone who passes. Charles I don’t know you or where you are from maybe Nigeria? Standing on the Howth Road. Your brilliant. You shine. It makes me want to shine and light up when I meet people today. Teachers are everywhere.
Thank you Charles, the paper man…