(This story happened a week ago, but we've thought back on it so often that I wanted to share.)
It's moving day. Our landlord and friend has kindly offered to take us, our suitcases and groceries from his furnished studio we have occupied for a month over to our new permanent apartment. We've huffed and puffed all our stuff down the stairs and are waiting for him to bring the car around so we can load and go.
Then he appears at the gate.
A man selling brooms, of all things. Not the straw brooms we're familiar with in the States. Synthetic ones with bristles maybe 3 inches long. But brooms nonetheless.
Now there are numerous vendors on the streets of Cuenca--lottery tickets, "street meat," assorted candies. We've even seen a guy carrying around handfuls of rabbit-ear antennae (remember those?).
The broom man obviously speaks zero English. He also obviously wants us to buy one of his brooms. The aforementioned vendors are all consistent in their behavior--they quietly offer their wares and if you're not interested they move on.
Not this guy. He is a small, older gentleman with close-cropped gray hair and a kind face. His demeanor suggests that, in polite terms, he is perhaps "simple-minded." He quietly says something to us in Spanish that we don't understand.
"No, senor. Muchas gracias."
That's the normal drill. But this time, no. He just stands there gently smiling and staring.
Being stared at is damned uncomfortable, even if it's a simple-minded Cuencano selling brooms that's doing the staring. Kind of like being on the other side of the cage at the zoo.
"No, senor. Gracias, pero no queremos una (Thank you, but we don't want one)."
He still doesn't budge and I'm starting to get a little agitated. I tell Cynthia, "This knucklehead must think if he stands here long enough we'll give him some change to go away. Let's just ignore him."
Sure enough, he finally moves on, the tension is broken, Juan shows up with his car, and off we go.
We know the apartment isn't going to be ready but that our container is supposed to be unloaded that same afternoon, so we have to make sure the space is prepared. Lo and behold, the workers haven't properly cleaned up, there's dust and debris all over the floor, and the one thing we really, really need is-----a broom.
So many "lucky breaks" have happened to us as we have relinquished control, relaxed, and been open to present moment opportunities over the past few weeks. Could the broom man have been one of them that we chose to dismiss, or was all this just a coincidence?
This incident makes me wonder how many "broom men" are sent to each of us every day that we overlook because we're so busy living between our ears that we don't even notice? How many chance encounters are anything but?
Perhaps angels don't always have wings. Sometimes they may have brooms.