Thursday, March 22, 2012

A strange thing happened yesterday...

While out and about yesterday I was exiting a store and began walking toward my car. Since it was an unseasonably warm and sunny day I had parked at the far end of the parking lot, under a tree where it was shady and cool. As I walked I observed a young woman putting her belongings into the back of her SUV, and I noticed an older woman approach her, speak for a moment, hand the younger gal a piece of paper, and walk away. The older woman then crossed the aisle and approached another woman who was headed toward her car. She said something, the woman shook her head no, and the older woman walked away. I then quickened my pace, trying to avoid this older woman and whatever she was trying to sell. As she stepped between a row of parked cars and headed away from me, I thought I was safe. A few seconds later, I heard a soft yet distinct "excuse me?" from somewhere close behind me. Feigning deafness (one of my favorite tactics in awkward public situations), I kept on walking. I was now just a few feet from my car. I hit the clicker, opened my door, promptly locked it, set my bags on the seat, and proceeded to put my key into the ignition. As I turned my head, the woman stepped toward my closed window and knocked on the glass! I was just a little bit startled and also the tiniest bit frightened. This stranger was boldly invading my personal space and I did not like it one bit! So I went ahead and started my car, rolled down the window just an inch or two, and said to the woman, "can I help you?" She then showed me a folded piece of paper and said to me, "I write poetry and give it away free. Would you like some?" This was such an odd thing for her to say and it caught me completely off guard and I said "no thank you" and rolled my window back up. The woman walked away and that was that.

I have to say that for some reason this experience really struck me. First of all, I wish I would have taken the sheet of poetry from the woman. I am now so immensely curious as to what was on that paper, and now I will never know. And secondly, I am a bit in awe of this woman's courage and tenacity in approaching total strangers and offering them her poetry. Now I know she may in fact be a certifiable nut ball and who knows whether the paper really did contain poetry that this woman had written or perhaps it was instead some sort of crazy rant, or maybe just nonsense, or maybe it might have been something completely sweet and harmless. Again, I will never know. If I go back to that parking lot, a place I have visited many many times before, I doubt that I will ever find that woman again. The moment has passed, never to be recaptured.

So, strange poetry-peddling lady, whoever and wherever you are, I hope you truly are who you claimed to be and if I ever see you again I will take your poems, and I will read them. I am sorry that you frightened me, and I am sorry I turned you away.

That's all for today.

Draw a crazy picture, Write a nutty poem,
Sing a mumble-jumble song, Whistle through your comb.
Do a loony-goony dance 'Cross the kitchen floor,
Put something silly in the world That ain't been there before.
                                                                    —Shel Silverstein