My First Conversation of the New Year

Technically, my first conversation of the new year was with Liz. But shortly after we woke up, I headed out to get us some coffee. I went out the back to take out some trash, and while I was in the alleyway I spotted a guy sort of rummaging through one of the nearby trash bins. At least, I think I saw him rummaging – I kind of saw him out of the corner of my eye.

After I threw my trash bags into the dumpster, I turned towards the street. Walking toward my car, I ended up walking by the stranger and he gave me a smile.

Happy New Year he said, raising a toast to me.

Without even thinking I responded back with a fairly enthusiastic Happy New Year! The moment I uttered these words was the moment I realized the guy had a beer bottle in his hand. Mind you, this was around 10:00 AM.

Walking by, I noticed several other odd things. The guy seemed fairly well dressed to be digging through dumpsters. He also had a pair of (white) iPod headphones in his ears. And the liquid inside the beer bottle seemed a strange color, and made me think it was actually liquor and not beer.

As we passed one another, I began to wonder: was the guy sincere in his remark? Given his dress and the headphones, was he just some party-goer that just happened to still be out and about? Was he a homeless person, digging through the trash – giving me a mock “happy new year” and sarcastically critiquing his unfortunate predicament?

Even now, looking back on the encounter… I’m not sure which way to take things. It all depends, I guess, on how you look at things and how you choose to interpret them. Not a bad philosophy to adopt, today of all days… the first day of a new and newly started year.

To all of you reading these words: a true and sincere wish that this year brings you what last year did not.

Happy New Year, everyone!

[CC Photo via Jason Taellious]

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