I have found that a whole different life has been passing me by. I have worked for most of my adult life, but I have been unemployed for the past 13 months. In this time I have discovered that if you can slow down your life, not always rush through, you can meet the most interesting people. You just have to take the time to listen.
I have learned the most interesting things by listening to people. You have to have a bit of time sometimes, and sometimes that takes a little longer than you may have. I have found most times it's worth it.
I went uptown (sounds impressive) to get a few things for our dinner tonight, when a big mountain of a man blocked out the sun and growled something at me in a big booming voice. I stopped and craned my neck back to see a bear speaking at me. He smiled and repeated what he had said. I stopped, slowed down and started to listen.
First, he asked me why I had that Marine Corp sticker on my car. I told him that my son is a Marine. He smiled again and began firing questions at me like the bullets from a Marine's weapon.
Where is he?
What unit is he with?
When will he come home?
What will he do after that?
How much longer until he is done?
I answered each question, and then I noticed the license plate on his car right in front of us. He had plates that indicated he had been awarded a purple heart.
I tentatively asked him about it. He reluctantly told me he was in Vietnam and was shot (at least once) in 1967. I thanked him for his service, and he said one last thing to me.
"I hope he comes home, whole, I mean not crazy like me."
I thanked him and moved on to the store. I came home and cried.