My Recent Experience
I sat reading a book on a bench along a side path at Washington Square Park. A woman with a warm smile, carrying a portable typewriter and a table on which to place it, stopped to say hello. We exchanged pleasantries about the hats we each wore, and then she asked if she could write a poem for me.
My head was immediately filled with thought jumbles, all linked to feeling “less than.” How much money do I have on me to pay her? Can I even afford this today? (She had not mentioned money, and I did not ask.) I want to be alone – but do I really? Am I a bad person for saying no? The jumbles claimed the moment.
I begged off her offer saying I wanted to continue reading my book and told her I would welcome a poem when I saw her again. That was not an idle comment – I meant it. She said she understood, and then she told me what she does.
She asks people what makes them happy and writes a poem that builds on that to make them even happier.
The gift of happiness this poet shares has stayed with me. I deeply regret not saying yes to that conversation.
There are multiple poets who sit at parks near me with their portable typewriters, but she is the only woman I have seen – and, as far as I know, the only one whose mission is to extend happiness. I look for her every time I’m in the park and will continue to look until I find her.
When I reflect on this experience, I know I was caught up in feelings of lack and unable to think clearly. There is always an option to connect with another person in a meaningful way. It would have been a gift to both of us had I said yes.
I also could have simply had a conversation with her – two hatted women chatting on a park bench. I’m curious how she started doing this and why – and what makes her happy. Furthering the happiness of others would very possibly be her reply.
I question what else my lack-filled thought jumbles might have kept me from over time. Sometimes fears are real and need to be followed, but not always. I promise myself to be more discerning of the truth behind my concerns, to release the tangle of chatter, and allow my thoughts to flow freely. That would make me happy.
Photo by PhotoMIX Company on Pexels.
2 thoughts on “Saying Yes to the Conversation”
I would have had the exact same initial reaction as you did. Great reflection.
Thank you, Allison. Next time, I hope to do better.