I have a good friend, Sarah, who is probably the biggest conventional hippy that I know. I say conventional to validate all of your preconceived ideas of a hippy doing yoga, growing their own herbs, reading tarot, drinking homemade teas, and have a worm house IN her living room so they eat her scraps and make “worm juice” to feed her plants. She often refers to the chakras and all sorts of lingo I’m only familiar with when she explains it to me during our incense burning, palm reading, girls nights.
She told me about Gurus. How everyone or thing can be a guru sent to you to teach you something about yourself, to get you closer to being enlightened. Which, I hear, is supposed to be great for reincarnation. Gurus don’t always stick around and don’t make a big production of their ‘teaching’…they just are. Anyway, sometimes she makes my head spin with, “You’ve got to be fucking kidding me,” but sometimes, she really hits home. This guru thing makes sense. On a yogi level or just a basic human level of realizing that everything can teach you something if you are open to it and recognize it.
Today, I met a guru. His name is Andrew.
I was walking to my car from reading my book downtown. I was in that disconnected mind set that pausing from reading a good book puts you in with the real world. I come across this man, tear drop tattoos and kind of grungy dirty look, carrying a bag. He said hi to me and made eye contact that clearly indicated he wanted to chat. Great. Downtown Roanoke is riddled with homeless people asking for handouts. I have conditioned myself to either not make eye contact or to have a quick answer of “not carrying cash,” or “I’m meeting someone and running late.” Maybe society has conditioned me, who knows. Chicken or the egg, right?
“Hi, I’m Andrew and I’m trying to sell these stones I’ve painted for 50 cents..” He was sincerely friendly and polite.
“Hey, I’m sorry, I’m meeting someone have to run,”
“Ok, have a good day!”
I’m parked right around the corner from where he was standing. Literally a 10 second walk. I get in my car, and start to feel weird. He wasn’t asking for a hand out. He wasn’t giving me a sob story…He had something he made and thought had value and was trying to sell his art. As an artist or sorts, I immediately regretted my rash decision to treat him like another street urchin. I threw my car in an illegal spot (reserved for electric cars, not a joke) and went running after him. I’m sure I looked like a lunatic, dress and cowboy boots, flailing like I just learned to walk yesterday.
He was gone.
Like, poof, magic, gone. Just how gurus do in stories. As if he was really just there to teach me a lesson about making quick judgments about others before really assessing, teaching me about connecting with others who I might not on a regular basis.
I ended up scouring downtown Roanoke. Up and down each street and side street, hoping to find him. He was gone.
But I learned my lesson.