on a twenty minute commute from work there is only one gas station that’s easy to get to. i work in a neighborhood that is predominantly black and i enjoy stopping at this one because i’m usually wearing something tye dye under overalls and covered in paint, and i like the interactions i experience. i’m often called sweetie, and once held the door open for a man coming out who practically scolded me to “get on in here” with an assertive wave of his hand.
it was about a month ago that i was approached by a young man asking for change. sixty cents, to be exact. he said he needed it to buy pencils. “oh now i’ve heard it all,” i thought. i didn’t in a million years believe him, but he was polite, and sixty cents--no big deal.
the next week i was approached by the man again, and as i was getting sixty cents out of my wallet i commented, with a hint of “oh really...” that it was the same amount he asked me for last week....for pencils. he remembered, and said he had gotten those pencils. he described them somewhat awkwardly to me, saying he preferred the mechanical ones for his art. i asked him about his art, and am forever grateful that i did.
he said it wasn’t on him but it was around the corner. i said i’d love to see it, and said i would wait. he came back with a collection of drawings unlike anything i’d ever seen. they were truly remarkable works of art. the way he described his methods, and seeing how he had gotten from beginning to end, was utterly fascinating. he was so humble that i was having a hard time believing what i was seeing.
i don’t know Thomas Rucker that well yet. i stopped by on christmas eve to ask if i could buy a print from him and was grateful that he agreed. he signed it and everything.
everyone has a story. everyone is someone, deeper than circumstance, deeper than the hands they’ve been dealt, and the hands that they hold. it’s a lesson i’m glad to learn over and over again, until i wonder, with awe and respect, who everybody is.
who are you?