I was waiting for a red light at the bottom of Topanga and Pacific Coast Highway, on my way to the Farmer’s Market in Santa Monica.
I’d seen the man on the center median before, but had never spoken to him. I was always too many cars back from the crosswalk. But this morning, he was up close and personal, hunkered down in his wheel chair. He squinted at me over spectacles that looked like they belonged in Elton John’s glasses wardrobe Long, gangly sprigs of hair sparsely populated his head and drooped across his eyes. In an arthritic motion, he brushed the strands aside and lifted his glasses up so they perched a little higher on his ruddy nose. He was wielding a fishing net with a long handle.
“Whatcha catchin’ today?” I teased.
“Minnows!” he said, smiling a little, then muttering to himself.
“Minnows?” I said with mock incredulity. You’re not gonna catch any minnows sitting here, big guy!” Again, he mumbled something I couldn’t make out. “What do you use the minnows for?”
“I use ‘em to catch big fish.” he exclaimed with a big grin.
“I see. Well, you’d better get your ass down to the beach if you want to catch anything other than a pretty girl.” Okay. I have no shame. I’m flirting with a homeless dude in a wheelchair. And I’m actually having fun.
“Already found one right here!” he chuckled. Homeless dude was flirting back!
The light turned green.
“Well, have a great day.” I giggled. “Catch lots of minnows…but not too many pretty girls. I might get jealous.”
“God bless, darlin'” he said. “You made my day.”
As I drove away smiling, I realized that the gift of being with someone, giving my heart-open energy is a valuable gift. And, like a boomerang, it was a gift right back at me.