Quietly, and without fanfare — that’s how one man I know does his part.
My Ras friend and I were cemetary walking in Charlotte, NC, last weekend — talking this and that, who’s up, who’s down, who’s willy nilly, who’s a clown — when Ras did the most elegantly simple thing. We’re in the home stretch coming back to his building near the city center, and like horses returning to our stables, we’re picking up speed — talking, talking, talking — when my Ras friend bends down without breaking stride and scoops up a large chunk of litter, and on we go — talking, walking, talking.
I could tell you all sorts of things about the Ras, about being gay and black and Southern and Christian (what a combo to navigate there, eh?), about how he has TV Tourette’s (witnessing Ras blurt sassily back at the TV is a favorite entertainment), about how he once tried (too subtly) to start a trend by affixing a tiny lock to a shoelace on one of his sneakers (it didn’t catch on)(but here’s your chance hep cats . . . run with it).
There’s so much more there, of course. A vibrant soul has much to excavate. But all this tells you less about his deep down character than this moment of casually swooping down and making the world an infinitesimally better place. It’s indicative of the way he moves in the world — he does this all the time, oftentimes so subtly (like the lock on a shoe) that most would not take note . . . but it is there nonetheless, in the way he assists others, the way he takes a stand, in the way he performs a duty.
Isn’t that how you know the world will turn out just groovy gravy — when people — in this case my Ras friend — think nothing of making things right, even when it involves picking up after inconsiderate others. I wanted to give him a big ole sloppy hug — but my Ras friend discourages that kind of overly exuberant display of affection — so instead I’m writing this mash note, affectionately.