I was standing contentedly in the patio sipping my morning mug of coffee. It was such a lovely morning, pretty and peaceful and the only interruption was the sound of the garbage-truck making its intermittent stops as it slowing progressed down the street. Nothing beckoned my urgent attention, I have no job to rush to, so I waited for the truck to appear. I waved to the driver when he came into view, he smiled and nodded a polite reply. The worker was distracted by the bins for awhile, but as he passed me, our eyes met. As before, I smiled over my mug and waved. Caught up with his work he didn’t reply. It was some seconds later before our eyes met again. By then my mind had wondered and my smile had faded, replaced by a furrowed brow and the soft beginning of a frown. He stared for a moment and I can only describe his expression as a scowl. Shaking his head in despair, he leaped onto the truck, slapped the side powerfully, twice and along with truck and driver disappeared from my view.
He snubbed me.
What was that about? Now I was disturbed. His look bothered me. I stood there for awhile listening to the fading sounds of the truck and feeling the heat in my mug cool. I seem to have offended my garbage-man. I believe he mistook my pensive look for pity. If only he knew. I was at the moment he caught my contemplative stare, envying him, his work. I was thinking that his job is a hard one and I wondered if his boss praised him. I wondered if he had a family and if his family appreciated his efforts. I wondered in those seconds how much he was paid and if all his bills would be settled. I did not look down on you my dear garbage-man, I admired you, your work.
I almost dressed and ran after him to explain but by then I couldn’t hear the truck any more. One day I will help him understand. He is working and I am not. In the land of the unemployed, the garbage-man is king.