Friday, March 27, 2009
On Southern California afternoons, the freeway onramps and median strips take on a tiny marketplace atmosphere, with men and women selling whole bags of fruit or nuts, balloons, and other little things. On Fridays, they really focus on the flowers. The flowers are basic, and are set out in big black buckets on the side of the road. Basic, but they look like the tiny premade bouquets you might get at the grocery store checkout line while you're picking up the steak for tonight's dinner.
At the intersections, cars slow and stop, windows go down and up as flowers and bills are traded. The stop lights turn to green again and the line of cars moves on. Sometimes a car pulls slightly to the side to buy something, blocking traffic a little bit. No one honks; that seems a good sign. Maybe people forgive the little inconvenience when they think it's for a good cause?
Every Friday I drive by, wondering if the man with the bucket will still be there. I also hope he will be there in six weeks, or in three months, next year, and forever after. Whenever I need him...
He's there this week, and wishful thinking makes me look at the bucket again, like every time. I usually slow but keep moving. This week, next to the bucket is a stack of oranges, bagged and ready. It's a lot of oranges for one guy who doesn't really eat fruit, but I slow and stop anyway, put the window down, and I trade five dollars for the huge bag of navel oranges. Before I pull away, I stop and point to the flowers, too. Usually, they are red roses, but this week they are gerbera daisies. More dollars are exchanged, and I have a little bouquet in hand and head on home. ...to eat the oranges I didn't really want and water the daisies I don't really need. ...yet.
Why did I buy these? Practice makes perfect? Build it and they will come? ...stick any other trite little saying you can think of there. Either way, I hope I'm at least doing my part to keep the guy in business until I do need him.