Here's a little something I wrote and forgot to post on Friday.
I hope it provides a bit of entertainment on your manic Monday.
There are plenty of corners in the United States where people stand with cardboard signs hoping that someone will reach into the ashtray of her car and give them her spare change. I'm sure we've all hunkered, avoided eye-contact, and hoped for the light to change so we could keep on going...
The scene is a bit different here in Bella Napoli. I've never seen a cardboard sign. And the people hoping for money at intersections are not standing. Oh no. They are working. With arms full of trinkets and doodads and, oddly enough, packs of tissue papers (you know, the kinds that are wrapped in plastic with a little opening for you to pull out a tissue anytime you might need one? They go in your pocket or purse? Am I painting a clear picture here?), they are trying desperately to make a sale to each and every passing car.
There is one particular stoplight that I frequently encounter throughout my less-than-hectic week. Well, it's not an official stoplight, really. It's sort of a makeshift thing that was set up for the "construction" they have been working on since we arrived in this town a year and a half ago. I'm not sure why, but everyone actually sticks to the rules with this light, and they remain stopped until it turns green, which causes a pretty decent line of cars to form. This must be one of the hottest selling spots in town, and I bet "venders" fight over it, because people sitting in their cars actually have time to contemplate whether or not they need a pack of tissues.
For the last year and a half, I have sat in my car watching these guys (I've yet to see a woman "vender") walk up and down the line of cars asking people if they'd like to purchase something. I usually have anywhere from 3-5 minutes to sit and think about what it might be like to be one of these guys. What would it be like if that were my job? My way of life? I suppose I would learn to get used to disappointment. To striking out. Because, most people decline the sale. Sometimes, though, someone rolls down his window, hands some money out, and buys a pack of tissues. Like a good golf shot, it is probably what brings those "venders" back to the grindstone everyday. It's what keeps their hope alive. Makes them believe that it's all worth it. Then I start to feel guilty and think I should buy a pack of tissues from the guy, so maybe I could help his day a little. But then I would end up with a car full of tissues, and, as much as I like to be kind and helpful, I equally do not like to be wasteful. So there I sit.
Until, of course, the light changes and I get back to my less-than-hectic day.