Living in Wonju South Korea, These Many Long Years

Living in Wonju South Korea, These Many Long Years: Version 2.0!

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Cart Man Part II

Im sitting in my office looking at Gmarket when a coworker comes in. Its all small talk and pleasantries when he says: you know, people are just so selfish all the time.  It really sucks that human nature is just so grim.

I look at him. Its obvious hes having a bad day and not making some statement about my character flaws. Without really knowing where Im going, I say: yeah I get that dealing with other people is a trial at times. But I cant think that people are so selfish all the time. They cant be. Like this old guy I see every morning on my way to work. He must be 70 years old, and no matter the weather I see him out, pulling his cart and collecting cardboard and recyclables.  His cart is all blinged out with lights and Taegookis and stuff; hes got this awesome hat that I really like, looks like a fishermans hat. Ive seen him for ten years, out there, smiling, while he hauls his load to the recycle center.  Hes kinda famous in town; word is hes actually quite rich, he just does it because he wants to keep doing something, to give to the community, even though he could be sitting back on a beach somewhere. Word is he spends the money he makes buying lunches and dinners for the other old folks out collecting, those who arent rich and either dont want to bother their kids for money or cant. Whenever Im having a bad day, I think about that guy. He doesnt lie down and die. Life can really suck at times but lying down isnt an option, you have to keep going since thats all you can really do.

There is a silence then he says: thats an interesting story.
You think so?  You know whats really interesting about that story? Its totally not true. That guy doesnt exist, but you believe the story anyway.  Why?  Because you know people are out there, doing this kind of work, youve seen them, and maybe youve heard rumors how some of them are rich, and do it for the reasons I said. He is kind of a composite of every one of those people youve seen in your life. But you believe the story because you want to believe, you want it to be true and have your faith in humanity restored, to know that in a sea of indifference and hostility there are nice people who do nice things. You need to believe that there are people who go out and give back. We need these kinds of fuzzy wuzzy stories to remind us that there is hope and things can always get better.

A deep silence settles in while we sip our coffee.  Then: I get your point. I am just having a bad day, what with my problems and all. I liked your story, thanks.  Ill catch you later.

He leaves and I turn back to my computer: Gmarket beckons. But then I stop: he thinks I was telling the story for him, and I was, but it was also for me, a reminder that even if life isnt going the way youd hoped, you have to keep on living, striving, and becoming. It is good to remember that from time to time. I close the browser and head out for a walk.  There is a big world out there after all.  And I am just a shill for the man.

No comments:

Post a Comment