Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Blue Sky and the Zen of Leafleting

This was the stunning blue sky over London this morning as I took to the streets to hand out leaflets for the exciting new garment house 'A Suit That Fits'. The last time I was out beneath a cold October sky for any significant period was probably during school football matches, when I'd stand, shivering, in the corner of the pitch, praying the ball wouldn't come near me. This morning was an entirely different affair, in some ways reaching heights of Zen-like proportion.

It started with a sinking in the pit of my stomach as I pitched my stall outside Moorgate Tube and realised I'd become what everybody hates: that nuisance on the corner who dispenses cards that nobody really wants. Responses varied from ignoring me completely to throwing me looks of pure, simple loathing, followed by a side-step and a firm 'No'. Only occasionally did someone smile and say, 'Thank you," which was usually followed by a swelling in my heart with which nothing could possibly compare. Never before have I observed the speed of this world with such clarity. It was frankly disturbing to see so many unhappy faces pouring from the Tube, too busy to acknowledge a poor leafleteer.

Beside me a Polish guy handed out 'City AM' papers to the passing bankers and traders. This guy was a miracle, I swear. Not only did he stand there looking reasonably comfortable in his thick Winter hat and gloves, he also never stopped smiling. There was I, becoming more and more browbeaten by the disinterested crowd, and he was smiling a beatific smile whilst hopping from foot to foot like a carol-singer left on the doorstep in the cold. I wanted to shake him by the hand - to somehow absorb his fighting spirit. For no matter how many frowns or gestures of disinterest he received, nothing could alter his cheerful demeanour.

If there's anything I can take away from my leafleting experience, it's the knowledge that the poor man is great in spirit. If I could choose between the hectic life of a city trader, too busy to acknowledge the humanity before my eyes, or the Zen-like richness of the Polish leafleteer, I'd easily choose the latter. On a similar note, if there's one other thing these city-suits miss as they scurry along the pavements, in and out of buses and tunnels in the ground, it's the beauty of the crystal clear sky that shimmers over London in October.
Be enlightened. Stand out from the crowd. Visit A Suit That Fits.

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