SideWalk Ghosts / Interview 219: “We Have To… Or Everything Will Be Gone”

“When I was a kid people where concerned about the oceans and natural resources. We were taught about nature, the importance of the animals on the earth and how we needed to be careful to not allow any species to become extinct.”

At forty years young, basketball player and hobbyist on-line sneaker seller Chris is an advocate for progressive thinking.

A disciplined athlete he lives by the creed of coaching legend John Wooden, “Do not let what you cannot do interfere with what you can do.”

A mantra that Chris explains is a big part of his life.

“I’ve worked for ten years at the same company, overall it’s been pretty good, but last year it was bought-out by a large corporation that does not fully understand our product. We went from 500 employees to 30. Since then it has been a little more difficult. I like our product and what I do, so I have adapted. You have to focus on what you can do, not the problem.”

Chris goes on with his own philosophy of inspiration, “We need to ask ourselves, what are we going to do?”

“What are we going to do?” Chris challenges.

It is a matter of thought, yet; I am curious in wondering what the result would be if we all changed it from the reflective (?) to the active (!)… “What are we going to do!”

We have had many discussions regarding the power possible by one individual. The simple acts or change of perspectives that all of us have the ability to undertake. I remember a while back when a couple of our friends said, “We’d rather see constant works of kindness from many single individuals than that of one giant organization;” or, Ben (Day 174), who at five was shot and almost died via an act of racial hatred. A kid who now at eighteen says, “I have no anger or hatred towards the man who shot me. I have to forgive and live my life with a more positive perspective. If I don’t, I too carry forward the problem of hatred.”

These two references alone are cause for the call to action Chris has brought to our attention… so what are we going to do?

For me, my simple act is to keep reaching out in sharing what I can with you. In turn, I ask you to continue passing it on. No matter what the situation. For as brought to attention by our 365 friends of the last 218 days, we have much to share with each other.

In this voice of solidarity shall we lift up our voices, our deeds and open our social networks to expand upon the wisdom of our life weary and reborn friend of day fifteen, Mark, who said­, “Be good and do good.”

My friend J.C. and I approach Chris as he is taking a few photos of the sneakers he is selling today. What at first bonds us is the camaraderie of both having cameras in hand.

But what really brought us into conversation is the simple fact that we did not ignore the situation.

Here J.C and I are walking and we simply come across Chris as he is reviewing the self-portraits he has just finished. It would have been easy to just wander by.

Instead we choose to say a friendly hello, adding, “What are you shooting?”

It seems, hello, has become the topic of the week. But I can’t think of a more powerful statement to connect us as a people, well maybe, I apologize (another big topic in itself).

J.C and I could have chosen to walk by, ignoring a possibility of making a friend. And many a time I make just that decision. Life is fast, and responsibilities are many. Yet, in the pauses between the storm of life, what I am slowly learning is this, The world is filled with amazing people, all of whom have something to say… and the majority share a desire for a better society.

Chris, tells me of his life experience. “It’s difficult living in Los Angeles, it’s hard to trust people. It’s not like it was when I was a kid.”

Being the sports fan that he is, Chris uses a sports analogy to support his point. “It’s hard for me to even wear my San Francisco baseball cap. I’m a fan, but if I wear it on the streets, I get attacked.”

He states a case study, “It blew me away when the Lakers won the championship. Everyone went crazy and burned things. That’s out of control. People do not value each other the way they should.

So, I’ve had to learn to live my life and do my thing.”

Our conversation turns sober; “It doesn’t look so bright for the kids nowadays…” Chris notes.

“…The tech is great, but also, it is an obstacle and a distraction. And with the other things going on, things like terrorism, gangs and violent world news, it’s even harder to get our kids to focus on the future.”

Chris references the youth, however, I take his concern to heart, and after cresting the over 900 count in the people I have approached since the inception of 365, married their advice to my own fifty-years of life experience, I take liberty to expand on his statement in including all ages.

Chris finalizes, “We are so distracted that it is hard think about our future, the people, our resources and our planet…

…We have to… or everything will be gone.”

Chris, thank you for taking the chance in speaking with us today. You’re words do matter, and we are all taking them to heart.

I’m sure our paths, or should I say, our sneakers, will pass again my friend.