i’m walking home late in the dark and lovely night of the city, only interrupted by a few lamps that through some light in the streets. just a few feet in front of me there’s this homeless who is pushing a trolley and comes my way. “nice hat there”. my hat has always been an effective conversation starter, no matter the context. “thx”, i answer. i pay some attention to the guy. he’s in his 50s, has white beard, wears a red cap and i think he has blue eyes. “sorry to disturb. how’s going. can i tell you a joke?”. unlike many homeless, this guy seems to be present and aware, really talking to me. his sight is sharp and focused on me. “sure, go ahead!”. he tells me three variations of the classic “how many XXX does it take to replace a light bulb”. i understand two out of three of the jokes, which is a very unusual score for me, especially given the context (although, again, this guy speaks very clearly). this makes me really happy. he proceeds to explain me that his father is a great joke teller, and that he can remember every single joke he was ever told, even many years after. “i bet you are the same”, i respond, and add a “what’s your name?”. his names is Dave. he asks for my name and he learns my name is Indigo, with d. “okey Dave, i gotta turn right here”. “i’m sorry i am asking this Indigo, but would you by any chance have 75 cents to spare?”. “sure, i have one dollar if that works”. he nods, i give him one dollar, and turn right. “have a good night”, “same for you”.
this random man that i’ll never see again in my life just helped improve my self esteem regarding my english listening skills. and it only costed me a bit of an open attitude, patience and attention. and one dollar. not bad!