A Moment in My Life – Thursday, August 27, 2020
“Oh, look! Here comes the street cleaner!” I said to whoever was listening. Oh, that would be me. I jumped out of my chair and raced up to my window, positioning myself for the best view behind the cherry blossom tree in my front yard as the Scavenger driver meticulously inched his way towards my house. I felt the excitement culminate as the truck got closer and closer. I witnessed the giant brushes spinning around under the truck as the debris on the street vanished before my eyes. I continued watching the truck after it passed by until he was out of sight. The driver literally did a clean sweep, and then, he was gone. I stood planted at the window with my eyes staring where the truck’s image was last seen and began laughing at myself, as I felt like a kid who had never seen a street cleaner before.
Remember the early weeks when Shelter in Place began as we acclimated to the quarantine, and we relied heavily on deliveries? It was a crazy time when nobody knew what would happen tomorrow. The uncertainties brought out the hoarding in people. People were wiping down the groceries that came home with them. We were Spic n Spanning everything. We had never been a cleaner society. We probably had never relied on deliveries as much as we did during the early part of the Pandemic. I know I had never seen so many delivery trucks on my street as I did then.
I remember seeing a FedEx truck approaching from the other end of my street one day. I jumped up and raced to the window with my eyes fixated on that truck. My hands clasped in front of my mouth as I marveled at it like I was waiting for Santa to hand me my present. “Here it comes!” I was dancing in place, and a moment later, my shoulders dropped with my demeanor. “And, there it goes.” What had the Pandemic done to me?
I didn’t realize it at the time, but I believe that it was the need for people interaction that caused me to respond like that to the delivery truck. It’s crazy, but on Facebook, I read about how others reacted similarly to seeing a delivery truck on their street, too. Who’d think that the anonymous delivery driver would become our temporary best friends?
These memories always remind me of my friend Dwayne, who was this giant token white guy amongst a community of little Asian people during his early ministry days in Korea. He shared that he became one of the locals, and it no longer mattered that he was the only red-headed white guy there. This story amazes me every time I think of it. How we look, honestly, doesn’t matter once we get past our appearances. We can assimilate into the community like everybody else. One day, a Caucasian visitor showed up. Dwayne jumped up and gawked at the stranger right alongside the Korean people who were with him. It was a long time since he had seen a white guy other than the one in his mirror. He was as excited and intrigued as the rest of them.
The good thing about our current circumstances is that it offers us a fresh take on the same view that we might otherwise have considered mundane. We grew up way too quickly—too eager to be grownups. Along with that eagerness, we forget what it was like being a kid when everything was new. We forget about the excitement of seeing things for the first time. I’m not crazy about being quarantined, but I am grateful that because of it, I get to see these everyday things again but through eyes like a child.