I always describe NYC Buskers (and the homeless for that matter) as “Urban Sociologists” as we are observers. We function on energy, on feeling versus thinking, the latter being what most of this particular city runs on. Innate & intricate observation of humanity & that 6th sense is how we survive, thrive & change other’s energy underground.
Today, standing on a busy corner on 10th Avenue I heard a tap, tap, tap and saw the red tip of a white cane, closely followed by an elderly man who clumsily rounded the corner, obviously not sure which direction he was to move next. I stopped & was just about to offer him help him when he said; “Can someone help me across the street?” I put my arm in his & said “I’m happy to help you. Which direction are you headed, Uptown?” “Yes” the elderly blind man said.
As we slowly walked across the street, everyone else scattered in all four directions without even noticing the elderly blind man, nor his plea for help. He asked my name, introduced himself as Joe & asked;”Where are you headed? I wondered if you could walk me to my bus stop?” “I’m headed where you’re headed. I’m happy to walk you Joe” I responded.
As Joe & I walked slowly up the hill towards 57th Street, he asked me what I did & he told me he lives in a group home & goes to a community center in the day to keep his mind occupied. “How is it where you live?” I asked “Oh, it’s ok. sometimes the people are…well…kind of a pain….” “Yeah, sometimes people, can be a hassle right?” “Sure can” Joe replied. “Probably’d be easier to live with a bunch of puppies” I chimed in, always choosing the fur babies. “Sure would!” Joe replied. Joe & I rounded the corner and I settled him at his bus stop. “Bye Joe. It was lovely walking with you & hang in there at your home” “Bye Heidi & thank you very much”
As I walked away scurrying to my appointment I was now late for, I felt grateful. Grateful of that 6th sense & to connect with someone who needed help, in the middle of this mad, concrete island. I know this is a busy face-paced city but my short visit with my new friend was literally the best part of my day & I wondered how many others on that street corner might have also benefitted from the gift of meeting & walking with Joe. I just happened to be the lucky one