The infinite value of connections

by Debra Efroymson

I am buying fruit at the local market in a small Vietnamese town. The woman selling fruit engages me in conversation. Inevitably, she asks me if I have children and suggests that I have one now. I laugh: “I’ve passed the expiration date!” She laughs with me, exclaiming, “That’s what I always say!” It is a moment of surprising bonding.

Decades ago, waiting for a bus in DC, I watch two prostitutes walk by. One of them stops, complaining of sore feet, and tells the other that she wants to take a taxi. “It’s only a couple blocks!” argues the other, but she is stubborn. As they get into the taxi, the one who was against it turns and shoots me a look of disgust which she sees I understand. It is, perhaps, the first time that I realize that (gasp) prostitutes are truly human and I have something in common with them, as with all other people on this planet of ours.

Another time, riding a bicycle in Dhaka, I see a man in a wheelchair. It suddenly occurs to me that we are both self-powered on wheeled vehicles. I grin at him. He is taken aback at first, then seems to understand my thought and grins back at me.

How to attach a price tag to these moments of connection? When we say something is priceless we mean it is beyond price, not that it is without value!


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