"Should've Been A Cowboy"

Monday, October 02, 2006

Free Advice

sunday, around noon, i was at white rock lake passing the time by walking around looking for a few good photos. while walking i passed an older, thin, tan man sitting in a short lawn chair near the side of the trail. to the left of his chair were two other chairs very similar to the one he was sitting in. all three chairs along with his pair of shoes were weighing down a green sheet that he had laid out on the ground in a picnic fashion. near the corner of the sheet was a white styrofoam cooler that had a black sign with white text propped up against it that read "free advice". at the time i walked by he was talking to a man and a woman straddling their bicycles directly in front of him. i found this situation very interesting and it peaked my curiosity. i continued to walk by as i was on a mission to find a few good photo opportunities.

after getting in a good walk and a couple of good shots i headed back to my car. on the way i noticed that the advice guy was unoccupied. so i proceeded to walk over to his station and strike up a conversation. i really didn't have any intensions of getting free advice. not that i was opposed to getting advice. i was just more curious as to how and why he was there. initially i stood as a quizzed the advice guy, neal caldwell. i found out that he had been giving free advice on sundays at white rock lake for 10 1/2 years now. i've been to the lake several time and have never noticed him, but that has a lot to do with the fact that i rarely go on sunday. it turns out that he has a counter-part, roderick macelwain, that takes his place in the afternoon. neal sits out by the lake from 10am-2pm most every sunday, this i learned from a business card that he gave me at the end of our meeting. after a brief interruption by a couple nice ladies promoting a dog walk that is to be held on october 21st, i accepted neal's invitation to down and continue our conversation.

neal was very easy to talk to, but according to him his counter-part has much more success in talking to people. he said that his buddy seems to talk to ten times as many people as he does. how much exaggeration was in that statement i don't know. as we sat and chatted we talked about how i too give free advice, only in a different setting and on a specific topic, about finance. he asked me about my experiences with people and overcoming a person's suspicions about getting free stuff, because most people think there is a catch to everything; and rightly they should. the world is full of people and business trying to make a quick dollar, and many use gimmicks promising "free" products and services to lure people in. as with i, neal gives advice because he enjoys helping others.

eventually he turned the conversation into an advice giving session, and i willingly let him. as i said before, i'm not opposed to getting advice. we ended up talking about my semi-blind coffee date that i had scheduled that afternoon. as he quizzed me on my intensions & methods of interaction and communication he would give affirmations and at other times neal suggested alternative methods or actions. i've never been to a counseling session, but that is what it felt like. at least as i know a counseling session to be, and it felt good. it was nice to bounce ideas off of someone and get advice and affirmation on my future actions. so, if you're ever in need of some good third party advice. feel free to visit neal or roderick on any given sunday at white rock lake, specifically on the west lawther side of the lake.

here is an article from the dallas morning news on neal and roderick. (click here)