Monday, May 30, 2011

Do You Remember the Milkman?

Remember the Milkman?

When I was a kid I remember the Paperboy, the Milkman, the old man in a truck that used to go around the neighborhood selling vegetables, the Breadman and the family that had an old Farm-all tractor they came around with to plow the driveway when it snowed. These were real jobs that real people had and they were proud of them. And before you say to yourself “those were the days”, hear this: I see some of that same spirit and dedication today.
  • When I walk my crazy dogs in the early morning I see the guy who delivers The New York Times. He drives a Ford Explorer and with a flick of the wrist he’s able to propel each delivery onto the right stoops. I met him one day when he had his son with him – they were having a great time and he told me he does this before his regular job to earn a little extra money.
  • As I ride the railroad each day I’ve gotten to know the various conductors who make sure we all have the right tickets. They also make sure we have the right information to get where we’re going. All day long on their feet and they’re always positive and efficient.
  • The Asian couple that runs a takeout Chinese restaurant in my neighborhood and the Lebanese family that runs the local Mediterranean restaurant – they’re there every long day to make sure all of us get what we ordered. No fast food places in our neighborhood and nobody wonders why.
  • There’s an Ethiopian family on the corner and they fix flat tires. No drive-in bays there – just tires piled high alongside their building and several portable jacks. They work hard and are always happy to fix whatever ails your tires.
  • As for the milk and bread and vegetables – now we can order online and two very happy brothers show up later that day with everything in a box from the new and oh-so-efficient cyber Grocery Store. And they even go through it with us to make sure we got everything we ordered.
I’ve met every one of these folks – went up and introduced myself and thanked them for what they do and how they do it.  They’re real people doing real jobs too. To some, they may be nameless functionaries working for a long list of providers but to me they are hard-working people who make sure people like me have what we need. They join the ticket takers, doormen, elevator operators, truck drivers, food servers, clerks behind counters, phone operators, bus drivers, secretaries, bank tellers and so many more who work quietly and happily in this and every other city. They are every bit as good as those people from so long ago who seem better only because we view them through the lens of long-ago memories. Open your eyes – kindness, excellence and diligence are all around us still.
And now I’m sitting in Penn Station waiting for a train to upstate and looking at the departure board with route names like the Lake Shore Limited, Empire State Express, Silver Meteor and Ethan Allen. This mode of travel, plus all the dedicated people mentioned above have me thinking – about how good it used to be and how good it continues to be. It reminds me that the views are equally as important and impressive out the windshield and the rear-view mirror. And as good as things and people used to be back in the day, they’re every bit as good today.
My message this week is about creativity and innovation – qualities that have always been important.  Use these this week to be as successful as you want to be.
“A hunch is creativity trying to tell you something.” -Frank Capra
Frank Russell Capra (1897 – 1991) was a Sicilian-born American film director and a creative force behind a number of films of the 1930s and 1940s.
When’s the last time you acted on a hunch? You probably have them all the time but actually doing something with one is not all that common. And where do these hunches come from: mostly from experience that leads you to believe that something is possible. It’s easy to get to that point but far more difficult to move beyond that to action because that takes confidence and competence and a willingness to try something that’s probably outside your comfort zone. But that’s where real creativity has the chance to flourish – it’s in that space where if you think you can, and want to try, then almost anything’s possible.  Writing, singing, researching, reporting, volunteering, analyzing, exploring, loving, painting, traveling, sporting, reading (and so many more) – any of these activities can be affected or improved by a hunch. Problem is: you’ll never know if it’s a good hunch unless you try and see what happens. So if that voice in your head is telling you to listen to and believe in your hunch, chances are you should. You just might be glad you did!
Stay Well and Have a Great Holiday Weekend!

No comments:

Post a Comment