Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Spontaneous Living

Alfred Gockel
Sunday morning I met a friend for coffee.  We hadn't seen each other in awhile, so it felt good to catch up.  We spent a couple of hours together, and then said goodbye to go about our day.  It was Sunday. I had some errands I needed to run, but I didn't really have any other plans, and I was feeling good and happy after spending time with my friend.

As I started to walk to my car, I noticed the couple sitting at the picnic table outside the coffeehouse.  The man and I made eye contact and he said, "Excuse me?"  I noticed the accent right away.  I thought they might be Italian.  He wanted directions to downtown Portland.  His English was sketchy, but certainly I could understand him.  They were not Italian; they were from Spain. They didn't have a car and I'm not that familiar with public transit since I do have a car.

So, in the matter of seconds, I sized them up.  I listened to my gut which told me they were good people; they weren't Bonnie & Clyde conspiring to hijack me and steal my life. Plus, I was feeling good.  Spontaneous.  And I was going in that direction anyway!  I asked them if they were comfortable with me giving them a ride.  They were thrilled.  Silver and Veronica.  I drove them downtown and as I was doing so, Silver asked if they could buy me lunch or a drink to thank me for my kindness.  I almost said no.  But why not?  So I said that would be lovely!

We walked around for a bit and then went to grab a bite to eat.   They were delightful company, and the language barrier appeared to get less and less as we talked and joked and got to know each other.  Veronica was shy about her English, as I was with my Spanish, but we both warmed up quickly and communicated with each other easily.

After lunch, I took them down to the Waterfront near Saturday Market and bid them goodbye. We gave each other big hugs as if we had been friends for longer than 2 hours. We are now Facebook friends and I invited them to contact me again. They, in turn invited me to visit them if and when I make it to Spain.

It would have been so easy to have walked by them.  To dismiss them when they asked for directions in broken English.  But what I did was I embraced the moment.  I listened to my instincts which told me I had nothing to fear (my instincts speak loudly when people are creepy and untrustworthy).  

And the take-away was that I met two wonderful people whom I was able to share a mini-adventure with.  I may never see Silver & Veronica again, but spending time with them on Sunday afternoon was a lesson in living in the moment, listening to my instincts and being spontaneous.  It's a practice we could all benefit from and I hope to live that way more frequently.

Silver, Me & Veronica

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