Aging may differ for each of us, but certain things are universal. One of these is how often much younger people are eager to tell you things you already know, where patience becomes a true virtue. Axioms are repeatedly thrown at us by every assumed authority, like snowballs, which we can either duck or accept with a nod and a smile.
But one such truth we hear repeatedly is “keep moving,” based on the belief that lack of motion leads to paralysis of both mind and body. Thus, at ninety-one, I work to fend off the attractive restraints of ‘dolce far niente’ and wander about my house and grounds, busy with minor chores. A principal duty each week is to get the refuse bins out to the curb for pickup the following day.
On one such Tuesday afternoon, I found myself struggling with a recalcitrant green bin that was much too full. As I concentrated on my efforts to maneuver the bin down the drive, and dealing with my cane, I was unaware of another person appearing beside me until he said, “I’ll take that.” It was a familiar face, not seen for over a year: Roger, the UPS guy!
“Out on sick leave for eighteen months,” he told me, after casually moving all three refuse bins to the curb. All the residents on my block, as well as neighboring blocks, knew Roger well. He took very good care of us, ensuring that packages he delivered were placed as much out of sight as possible and often rang doorbells to announce their arrival. He would take a moment to chat. Here was a man who truly liked his job and the interaction with his customers. Roger is genuine, top to bottom.
When our beloved neighbor David Jones died, and the A-listers he served in his floral design business were mourning his passing in New York, about a dozen or so neighbors, including myself, were celebrating his life at my house. Roger was among us, sharing tales of his encounters with David.
This is a simple tale, with no great dramatic intent. I thought it a good idea to salute Roger, the UPS guy, for his reminders of what it means to be unabashedly open and accessible in an age and culture of anxiety and unnecessary caution in our everyday dealings. Say hello to Roger – he’s the guy in short pants driving that brown van.