The Conversation

I was walking yesterday and I saw an old man leaning casually against a streetlight.  His head was bowed and he seemed almost asleep.  When I approached he glanced up.  His gold-brown eyes were alert but hooded.

I spoke.

“Hey, man, whatcha doin?”

“Letting heartbeats go by.”

“Why?”

“They go by anyway.  I’m just not fighting ‘em right now.”

“Is that a good thing or bad thing?”

“Depends.  I’m not worried or stressed like some are.  But I’m not getting anything done either.”

“Is that a good thing or bad thing?”

“Depends again.  Sometimes folks do things they shouldn’t have done, and sometimes folks do things and don’t really get anything done and sometimes folks do things and it’s the thing that had to be done.  And sometimes folks don’t do things cause they’re lazy or cause they’re scared but sometimes they don’t do things cause it’s the right time to not do anything.”

“How do you know?’

“Most times you don’t know until you’re looking back to see.  Sometimes not even then.  From time to time, if you remember to pay attention to the right thing you can figure out which is which while it’s happening.  That’s when the right thing happens.”

“What’s the right thing to pay attention to?”

“Well…depends.  I’d say maybe you should pay attention to your heartbeats going by.”

“Is that what you’re doin?”

“I’m just keeping an eye on life and letting life keep an eye on me.”

He bowed his head again.  I walked on.

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