The Man who can be moved

The Man who can be moved

That afternoon was about to be just like the others.

After many hours looking at the screen of my laptop I was in need of some time off. As I normally do, got in the car and headed to a sports park hoping to find my mind-body balance.

A few kilometres ahead “shit!”

Huge traffic jam in the distance. A constant stop-go that was getting me crazy. Fortunately, the jazz playlist was right there to calm me down. Still, time goes by and cars barely move.

Picking up “The Clash” song, should I stay or should I go?

Well… When a door closes a window opens right?

I turned around and ended up finding a nice outdoor place for my workout. Fortunately, there were plenty of parking spaces so I was all set to go. The exact moment I park an old guy gets closer and starts doing all those circular movements with his hands.

“I know how to park my friend! Thanks but I took a driving license.”

No, I didn’t tell him that. It would be too rude. However, such thought is likely to have crossed my mind. When tightening laces inside the car, I realize he keeps standing next to it forwarding the ones that cross by. Along these seconds we don’t talk to each other. I reset the chronometer and let the run begin. Meanwhile, “let’s hope the car is ok when I get back.”

Why are human beings so suspicious of each other? If you have an explanation for this please tell me. I’d like to know. One hour later, my eyes see an absolute photo print of the above-mentioned scenario. I can only come up with one out of two answers for that:

  1. My car is super cool so he doesn’t want to move around;
  2. He’s placing himself in a strategic location so as to make a living.

Regardless of wandering guesses, the truth is that I keep up with my stretching nearby the car observing him closely.

Soon after, he walks some meters down so I take the chance to get in the car as fast as I can. I then waste some more minutes of my life checking the phone and, all of a sudden, the old guy is looking at me on the other side of the window.

“He must want some money” I think.

“Open it! Open it!” he tells me.

A couple of minutes later I feel disappointed with myself for judging people by the way they look without actually getting to know them first.

Respect, tolerance, kindness. Beautiful words that everyone agrees upon. However, we take them for granted when it’s actually the opposite.

We have all heard the quote:

“Don’t judge a book by its cover”

Nevertheless, we do it every single day. From the moment we leave the comfort of our homes to the way back at the end of the day. Suspicion. Once again. What are we afraid of? Being violated, robbed, kidnapped? Thank God I no longer watch TV…

His name is José. Suffered a car accident some time ago disabling him ever since. “See these fingers? Can’t move them. This knee? Operated three times already. You better be glad I’m not naked!”

“Today is kind of hot! You can do it if you want to!”

He’s been around that square for the last 17 years day after day. He requested early retirement to the Government which means a 30% pension cut. “I have no choice… What else can I do? I need to survive.” You may be asking yourselves why he tried to talk to me.

“Look! Next week the city council will install parking meters in this whole area. I’ve told the same to a girl who was coming from a run too. Be careful next time!”

My eyes are filled with tears every time I remember him saying this to me. How cold, unfair and prejudiced I had been… It’s something hard to believe but easy to happen. It didn’t take too much longer though.

I gave him one of the most precious things one can give to another: time. Time to care; listen; smile; appreciate each other’s company.

“Mr. José I’ll swing by here more often!”

I give him my hand and he does me the same despite his hurt fingers.

He’s no longer the man who can’t be moved.

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