Monday, February 8, 2010

Piling Boxes

I once saw a man piling some boxes outside a day-care center at an intersection just east of the central business district of a midwestern city. I saw the smile on his face and I heard a happy singsong in his voice during his efforts, although his song had no words I could detect.

I then stood on the corner with my back to him. I smoked a cigarette and watched the parade of everyday life as I waited for a friend to appear.

I heard a woman say, "Charlie, take care of those boxes."

The man replied, "I am."

"Don't just thrown them around."

"I'm not."

She must've been out of earshot because I heard him say:

"Damn lady. Always nagging my ass. Hell, I'm havin' fun. This is just some old playground equipment in these boxes. I'm just puttin' them here so they can get picked up. Don't know who's gonna pick them up. She told me it had to be done, so I did it. She's so damn worried about the director climin' her ass about things. Hell, I'm just volunteering here. Thought I'd try to do some good for someone. Kids, maybe. They deserve it. Hell, they appreciate ol' Charlie talkin' with them and sometimes playin' with them. I'll just quit if it gets worse. It's no skin off my back. I"ll go do some good work elsewhere."

I heard no happy singsong in his voice when he started to pile the boxes again.

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