I was walking through Mexico City this morning and I noticed something a lot more subtle than the crazy traffic and tons of people in a hurry to get to work. I noticed people sweeping.
The street sweepers are all small shop owners to take care of their sidewalk. Some who have access to water wash the sidewalk too, in fact one of them had soap and was brushing the aged cement as if it was his kitchen floor. These sweepers were using different types of brooms. Some had the cheap Walmart type that had yellow plastic at the end of the stick presumably holding together the tightly wound strands of the brush. The others were using a long curved type of broom that looked like it was out of centuries past. These had shorter handles (not much shorter) but really long, loosely wound strands that kicked up quite a storm of dust as the walks were swept by men in earnest. This is a small cultural piece that I ended up enjoying. If I was a real photographer, I would like to come back and take shots of these people with the old brick wall backdrops, dust in the air with the morning sun as people walk innocuously by.
As I was taking this in, the last sweeper I saw about a block from my hotel looked up and smiled at me and said “Good Morning”. He startled me out of my sweeper thought stupor and I looked at him and said “Good Morning” back realizing that he used English instead of Spanish with me. I guess I look quite American in my pace and look, and I thought something I have been saying for a few months now- Smiles are Free. He not only was kind to me, he went the next step and greeted me in my presumed tongue. What did he want in return? Nothing! Maybe a smile and greeting back.
Smiles are free. Give them out with wild abandon! Your outlook for your day may change dramatically!