Monday, January 09, 2006

missing shoe polish guy

i moved into a new neighbourhood last july. we can't mark territory the good old way but we still seek to get comfortable with our surroundings when we find ourselves in a new environment. after the initial exploring is done, what helps us settle down a little more are the service providers in and around our area. they make life a little easier.

of course, over a period of time we take them for granted and expect them to be there on a daily basis. we only notice them when they aren't around. we argue with them about pricing, regularity and the quality of their service. its not all smooth sailing, we have our ups and downs.

so among the various domestic helps, the laundry guy, the chap who cleans my motorcycle every morning, the grocery delivery fellows, the delivery guy from the local wine shop, there used to be this really frail old man who had a shack right outside our apartment block. he'd polish my shoes almost every morning, but of late he's disappeared. i havent seen him for more than a month and i'm missing the guy's services.

since he was a really old chap, poor, not very healthy, lived in uncomfortable conditions (for anybody, not just an old man), and had no immediate family (as far as i could tell) it makes me a little worried that the old chap must have bought his little piece of the big farm in the sky.

what makes it really sad is that i didnt even know his name. i dont know what he mush have done with his life when he was younger. i'm wondering what he must have done (or rather, not done) to spend his last days in this manner. i sincerely hope his passing was observed by others too. and hopefully, some of them would know more about him than me.

"go in peace old man who always had a smile for me". as eulogies go, that's not much but it's the best i can do with the limited knowledge i have about him. it's true that all of us touch many lives, in many ways, everyday. what's more honest is that when someone you know dies, no matter how well or little you knew them, a little bit of you dies with them.

1 comment:

Kev said...

Hope shoe polish guy is alright. I guess it is one of those times when your life and someone else's, which moved across one another like two cogs, smooth and regular, was disrupted and instead of living it as usual you are forced to ask questions.

I would say that it is sad that loss or disruption makes us do that, except, I think it is forgivably human to relegate so many things to the expected.

Perhaps something like this is an opportunity to ask a few questions ahead of time about someone else you see or whose work or presence or existance in some way you enjoy as part of your own. I will take inspiration from your story and today ask the name of someone I see amost everyday :)