I’ve certainly meet some characters on the road.. I’m not sure if there’s a sign on my head saying “come tell me your life story” but I have definitely heard some pretty crazy stuff along my travels.
A couple of weeks ago I was waiting for the bus in Portland and decided I wanted a can of soft drink/soda/pop/fizzy (whatever you want to call it). I had enough time before the bus so I ducked into the convenience store to buy a refreshing can of Sprite and a bottle of water. I cracked open the can of Sprite, took a couple of mouthfuls and found myself feeling satisfied. Deciding I was done with the can (I knew my body didn’t need anymore), I looked around to find a bin (or trash can if you’re in the US). Standing right next to the bin was a guy holding a massive garbage bag, rummaging through the bin and pulling out all the bottles and cans that he could find.
I calmly walked over to him and interrupted his efforts, saying “Excuse me. Would you like the rest of this?” while I held up my practically full can of Spite. His eyes lit up and a smile covered his face (along with a look of confusion). I wasn’t sure if he’d take it (considering it was already opened) so I explained that I had only just opened it and didn’t want any more.
He checked a few times to be sure that I was ok with it and that I wasn’t missing out on his behalf. I explained that I had a bottle of water as well so it was all good. We then launched into a great conversation where he told me all about the cans and bottles he collects, how much you get for each (10c) and the rules around where you can and can’t ‘cash’ them in. He then began telling me about this great methadone clinic down the road he’s been visiting to kick his addiction to meth. He proudly shared that he has been off meth for 1 year and 10.5 months so far. He also explained that he was staying on a friend’s couch at the moment but there was a job coming up in November so he should be able to get out on his own once he starts working again.
My bus then approached the stop so he gratefully thanked me again, shook my hand and introduced himself as Joey.
I left this interaction with a full heart. Yes he’d been through a pretty crazy time but he was such a positive and grateful guy. It seems like he made some ‘not-so-good’ choices in his life but he’s just doing the best he can. I think experiences like this are so valuable and help put life into perspective… that uncomfortable hostel bed doesn’t seem so bad anymore… and the rice and tofu I cooked myself for dinner last night was actually pretty great <3
Life lesson learnt: appreciate what you have (whatever that is) and see the good in every situation
Until next time,