It’s amazing how many new friends I’ve made this week, simply by being open to new experiences. Earlier this week, on Monday, I was at Whole Foods when a man came up to me outside and asked for some change. I smiled and said, “I’ll get you on the way out.” That was my plan at the time, but my first priority was to use the restroom.
So I found it, used it, and quickly realized how hungry I was. As I made my way to the hot food section I thought, “I wonder if he’d like to join me?” I figured some refreshing conversation and new company would be nice, and just as I had that thought I saw him helping guide somebody to find what they were looking for inside the store. Immediately after, he started walking out the door and I caught his attention, asked his name, and asked if he’d join me for dinner.
Darrell picked up a few items, some bread and grapes and a drink to help get him through the week. Apparently I caught him on the upswing, since Monday was also his first day on a job after being homeless for 3 years. He still didn’t have a roof over his head, or food, but he was the happiest man in the world that day with his new job. The glow was very obvious.
On that evening, I made a new friend. Somebody who was interested in movies, like me, and hadn’t been to one since he could remember. Anyway, we exchanged phone numbers (a few locals set him up with a phone so he could look credible for job applications), I gave him my card, but something was missing. $24 to be exact. See, one of the local hostels promised to give him a room for 5 days for $24 (instead of the 2 days for $24) – but he didn’t have the money. He asked, and I gave it to him and as we were walking out he promised to pay me back after his first paycheck.
“How about you just treat me to a movie instead?”
On the way out, we noticed that the seemingly perfect weather had turned to rain. This elicited a comment from Darrell, “Looks like you really did save me tonight.” The truth is though, he saved himself – throughout all of his ordeal, including being severely physically injured and betrayed by a loved one (the circumstances that led him to being homeless), the one thing he never did was blame anybody. He made it clear that he takes responsibility for his life, and he chooses to maintain a positive attitude.
Driving home, I paused and realized that for whatever it was that I gave him, I surely received much much more within.
I did say “many new friends,” and that’s just the beginning. Then there’s last night, when I went to the birthday gathering for my friend Kelley. I didn’t know anybody there, except for one person – Rebecca. She’s a delightful new person I met recently that I’ve enjoyed getting to know, so I was glad to connect with her. In the course of conversation, I also met two other people – Rob who was a gang member in Queens who never graduated high school… and is now a doctor of holistic medicine – and Angela who is a contortionist / aerialist for the circus… you know, like Cirque du Soleil and stuff like that. I was fascinated to learn that she wasn’t born with these amazing stretching abilities, but rather, that she had worked on them just like any other skill or talent that is developed.
We all exchanged contact information, and as most people had left Kelley’s gathering we decided to head on over to another bar. There we had some great conversation, chocolate lava cake (chocolate will get me *every* time), and we noticed that there was a widescreen computer monitor with internet access. One of my new friends figured that rather than wait to get home to connect, we might as well just get on Facebook there and add each other as friends.
It wasn’t until then that I realized, Facebook was no longer just a website. It’s not just a place where friends connect. It had become a verb. We were not “on Facebook” nor “connecting through Facebook.” Technically speaking, we were “Facebooking” from a bar. We had officially “Facebooked.” Yes, I’m declaring it officially – Facebook is now a verb.
All in all it was a delightful evening, and I was glad to have met another two new friends who are interested in spiritual topics and certainly don’t fit within the mold of conventional society. On the way out, since I’m still relatively unfamiliar with the area, I asked where the best route to the highway was. Rob kindly directed me, so I hopped in my car and drove off.
And just as quickly as I hopped into my car… so did she.
Who, you might ask? I don’t know. Some random woman seriously just jumped in my car and asked for a ride home! We chatted for a while in the car and got to know each other, and it turns out lately she’s just been trusting her intuition and going with the flow. Considering she ended up in my car, I’d say her intuition was pretty much right on. And the Universe must have been conspiring in her favor because the light was red — which was the only way I’d have been going slow enough for her to have the opportunity to jump in my car.
I’ll spare you the details of most of that conversation, including the end when I dropped Jamie off and we exchanged contact info. But what I will share is one small tidbit which I found very appropriate given my week, and given the topic of this blog post:
Jamie: “So how do you like Portland?”
Me: “Well, I don’t like the winters. They’re too cold for my tastes. I do love the spring, summer, and fall though – the weather is just amazing. And I also really enjoy the people here because they’re so friendly… I mean seriously…”
and with a smile, I finished that thought with:
“Random people just jump in my car.” 🙂
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