walked down 6th avenue to 45th street to walk over to the schoenfeld theater to get tickets for the upcoming chita rivera one-woman show. i told you sometimes i’m a big queen.
but on the way, on 6th avenue, i saw one of my favorite new yorkers.
the handbill guy that snaps.
people are all over manhattan passing out handbills. if i have ever once actually taken one, i don’t remember doing it. i just walk right by.
most times there is very little actual effort to give you the handbill. i think this may derive from the embarrassment the distributors feel while wearing a huge double-sided signboard that says “men’s suits!” or “flashdancers!” or whatever.
so it’s very easy to walk right by these people, because they don’t really want you to have the handbill anyway.
and if they do overcome their embarrassment to make an actual attempt to give you a handbill, it’s usually a pretty cursory attempt, and a quick head shake or just totally ignoring them will discourage them, and they move on to the next victim.
not the snap guy, though.
he’s been there on that corner as long as i’ve been in new york walking down 6th avenue, which is more than six years. he’s on the west side of 6th avenue, probably around 46th street. he passes out handbills for a haircut place.
and he does it with style.
he looks you right in the eye, completely at ease with what he is doing, and tries to give you the handbill. but he doesn’t just hand it to you.
in one clean motion, in conjunction with the eye contact, he snaps the handbill at you. not in a threatening way, or a mean way, or a “god i’m tired of this job” way. his whole manner communicates that “this is an important piece of paper, and you really should take it and not miss out.”
and he is always smiling and happy, and not in that “i’m on day release from the asylum” or that “i’ve drunk the kool-aid from the cult” kind of way. here is a man who, to all external appearances, is one of the happiest-looking people i see on a regular basis.
i like people who take pride in their job, no matter what that job is. it would be very easy for him to slag off this job like everyone else who has this job slags it off.
have i ever taken a handbill from him? well, no. i have a place where i get my haircut, so i don’t want to give him false hope. but i always smile and politely decline the proffered paper, and the encounter always leaves me a happier person than before.
what’s his secret? is it as simple as, “i might as well enjoy myself and spread a little happiness while doing this?”
not a bad way to live your life, i think.
i really like the snap guy.