Sidewalk Ghosts / Alfonso— “In My Life, No. Maybe Another Generation”

“There are a lot of electronics. If we have a problem, it is going to be a big problem.

It was 6:00am and I was taking a walk in my neighborhood readying myself for the day. As I strolled, passing many a house, I pondered the years had I lived in my home, the added twenty my wife had resided on our block (we bought her parents house) and the years of my 365 awakening. In it, a stream of thought directed me to a stark conclusion: I was nowhere near cracking the surface in knowing the depth of humanity that lived in my immediate area, let alone the much larger perspective of the world around me.

Absolutely, I was more in touch with my community, both with those who readily accepted me, as well as those who time and time again choose to ignore my subtle hello’s.

But turned heads, and eyes locked to the ground did not sway me, for in every rejection there was ultimately an equally resonating acknowledgement of what I was doing with 365.

With two bold brush-offs began that morning, but I staggered not. For there were visions of new friendships in my head, so I forged on, knowing that the odds were in my favor.

Across Alfonso my route took me, and just as I had done for the previous thirty minute, I reached out with a smiling, Good Morning My Friend.

Alfonso reciprocated and we struck up a 1940’s style sidewalk conversation. Our language was a little struggled, but not too much to see eye-to-eye on the importance of community.

“Respect each other,” Alfonso contributed as I found out he had lived in his house for twenty-two years.

Originally from Mexico, he had settled into a comfortable life in raising children and grandchildren; and inspired by his career (Alfonso worked in electronics manufacturing) plus opinions grown from watching the activities of his grandchildren, he asked us to be aware regarding the society ahead.

“There are a lot of electronics. If we have a problem, it is going to be a big problem.

Everything is going that way.”

I wanted to be sure we were on the same page. So I reconfirmed, “Is it going to be a problem?”

Alfonso: “In my life, no. Maybe another generation,” he speculated.

We might think that Alfonso had lived the larger percentage of his life, and was turning the world issues over to the next generation, but that was not the case. And, as 365 has proven on many an occasion, that week proved to be running it’s own theme, conservation.

For Alfonso, it was a conscious choice to conserve water, something that I could tell instantly by comparing our matching front yards of yellowed grass. I guess it’s better to grow a few more weeds than to overuse our resources. Also, I’ll be shallow enough to admit, I was trying to save a buck or two.

It’s funny how the utility companies have a shrewd way of accessing yearly rate increases, using drought as the reasoning. But on the other side of the season, when the rainfall begins, and the water use drops, they never quite seem to figure out how to lower our utilities using the same scale. I’ve given up trying to figure the math.

Sorry, for the rant, but, meter readers of the world, It’s not your fault what happens in the boardrooms.

Alfonso obviously was in the same boat as I and had it nailed as far as conservation; low pressure water as he washed his car on the grass and cleaning and watering at the same time. Really smart, greener grass, shiny chrome, and lower H2O use, all at the same time, very cool.

Once more, I saw no stream of polluting detergent running into the street gutter, a detail that eloquently hit me in reflecting the copy of a sidewalk sign I just passed. Over it a plaque read, Whatever you put in here reaches the ocean.

I can’t say that Alfonso had chimed any new chords in his advice and actions, but after, at that point in time, 343 days of consecutive daily interviews and essays, the real beauty of mankind was emerging. The empowering fact that the more we heard of similar perspective, the greater the impact of 365 was becoming. Many a language had been spoken, many a faith had been approached and many an opinion or attitude had been encountered. The wonderment of it all was simple to see: We share far too many concerns to turn away from each other.

Yes, with the interview of Alfonso the first year of 365 was nearing it’s close. Something that I will forever be proud to have been a part of. An amazing community was forming and a vision of numbers large enough to be a real influence to the world was ignited. A call to action was born with literally twenty-three days left to the end of our founding year. That call, “We are all in the thing together.”

In our journeys I had not held back in doing my part to pass on the message of community and empathy. So, to save your ears from having to hear me express a charge, I relieve myself from the soapbox for a moment in turning the podium to Alfonso’s words,“Respect each other.”

Pass it on my good friends. We are only just beginning our movement!

And to all, please don’t forget to mark your calendars, Every 4th Saturday – Disconnect to Reconnect. CLICK TO FIND OUT MORE

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