Thursday, April 22, 2010

Life and chance encounters...

Life can be...just strange. Like "movie strange" but then again, I think one has to be open for such things to happen...like the one I am about to tell you...

My regular blog readers know that I often talk to strangers...and no need to wonder why. Its because I often smile at people at bus stops, trains stations, etc. Especially old people...I just hate seeing old people looking lost or sad...it bothers me, cos the one thing I know for CERTAIN is that we are all gonna get old one day. I would sure not like to be lost somewhere in a big city with no one to help me...

Anyway, so yesterday, in a dreamlike state, I watched a documentary which just made me cry. It was about a young guy who used to collect "weird" notes that were put up all over the city by some random person.

I totally related to him cos I am fond of reading notes people put up on notice boards, churches, supermarkets, etc. Sometimes one can see the same kind of notes everywhere. Some are the normal types, people looking for rooms or apartments, people selling something, etc. While the "weird" ones are notes that are almost like "rants". People just speaking their minds and putting them up everywhere. I once thought about collecting notes by a certain poet that I used to see everywhere, but then, one day, I walked into a bookshop and I saw a book. The cover looked familiar. Someone had taken pictures of these poems from all over the city and published them in a book.

Over the years, that idea of collecting notes kinda just died and I went back to just reading them. I never pass by a notice board without stopping to read the notes on them. Last month, when a friend of mine was visiting from the states, we took pictures of some of them that we had found on a drunken night...

But back to the story.

So, this young man used to collect these notes from this random person. The notes were usually him advertising for a friend or companion. He was a widower and was lonely. For years, this young man would collect these notes until he finally finished his studies and moved to another city.

Years went by, and he wondered if the lonely guy ever found a companion, or friend. He regretted never really trying to meet the old man. So, he finally decided to find out if the guy was still alive after all these years. He travelled to the city and immediately saw the notes in their usual places. On lamp posts, on notice boards, everywhere. On the notes, he read a new urgency. The lonely guy was about to be evicted from his home and needed a place to stay.

He wrote to the address asking if he could meet him. Lonely guy never replied. He went to lonely guy's house several times. Still, nothing. Finally, after many attempts, lonely guy decides to meet him. But on that day, he is being evicted from his home cos of "hoarding". Lonely guy is more than 80 years old, and is now homeless. On this very day, our young guy meets him.

To cut the long story short, the young guy becomes instrumental in getting the social services to help, finding him an apartment, and they become friends. They begin to write each other frequently and young guy becomes a part of lonely guy's life.

One day, his letters return unanswered. Lonely guy had died in his apartment. Alone.

I cried.

After crying, I looked up the name of the young man and wrote him a mail, telling him about my own encounters with strangers and old people. I told him of the old woman I met recently at the bus stop who I had promised to have coffee with but never did, and how ashamed I was that I never kept in touch even when I meant to.

After sending off the mail, I took the train. In the waiting room, an old guy sat beside me. He started talking to me. I smiled. I listened. He had just moved away from the city, cos the city was too lonely. He was back to sort out tax issues. Now he lives in the countryside where everybody helps each other. He asked me my name, what I do, etc. We had a nice long chat, waiting for the train.

He said many things to me. That I should take of myself, and be nice to myself, and also, I should be strong.

He also thinks I should move to U.S.A so I don't pay too much tax.

I left the train, and then I cried.

I opened my mail box. The young man had replied.

I cried again.

Then I wrote this post.


9 comments:

Patrice said...

The song you chose for this post is doubly appropriate, as it is about lonely people and has also helped people in need, in an indirect way.

SHE said...

So touching...

Talking to strangers is no easy task!

Jaycee said...

Are you serious? I talk to people to on train and buses, that's because I had a revelation one day (story for another day). This story just reminded me that there are lonely people out there just searching for love.

Favorite post for the day!

Evee said...

Very thoughtful of you to take out time to talk to old people.I guess it is not easy to be old and then be lonely....

simeone said...

touchin..

rayo said...

that young man's story is so touching. its a gud thing u do, sometimes these seemingly meaningless talks help make some people's days...

Longsufferer said...

I love reading random notes as well..no notice board is safe...interesting to know you do the same....no wonder we connect...but i dont talk to strangers..must be the result of several years of living in Lsgos and warnings from everyone as a child/adult.

Interesting read..move to the States abeg.....

moi said...

I agree with the man on the train....You should move to the U.S....the time is now.

Dee! said...

*Long sigh*
Very touching! There are so many lonely people out there. . .