This morning on the way in to work, I passed by the same places as usual - and as usual I see the masses pouring out onto the streets in their cars and SUVs. This morning, however, I got the rare treat to find out where one of these cars was actually going.
The tan Honda Accord pulled out of an apartment complex about three blocks from my work, and headed north on the same road I was travelling -- since I was headed gradually downhill, my pace was helping me keep time with hers, and eventually, a couple blocks later, we ended up at the same red light.
As I waited behind her, I was a little confused that she wasn't turning right or left - but was oriented to head straight. At this particular intersection, that only means one thing: you're headed straight into my workplace complex.
I thought to myself --- surely not... that's ludicrous.
Te light turned green, and we both began forward, onto the loop that circles my office complex... and she leads me straight.... curve a little..... turn (this is creepy, I'm thinking).... and here we are.
As I roll up to the bike rack, she rolls her Honda into a parking space not too far away.
The benefit-of-the-doubt begins to run through my head... maybe she has leg problems, or something.... maybe she has a lot to carry to work.... maybe that apartment complex was the last stop on her car-pool route?
It would seem not. She exits her car, alone, pops the trunk to pull out the wheeled office-bag, and - looking quite able-bodied - walks towards the building at a good clip.
Her car isn't popping or hissing - which would have indicated a longer drive. In fact, fresh condensation drips from the tip of her car's exhaust pipe, indicating that it hasn't been running that long.
I hurriedly lock up my bike and grab my stuff... and catch up to her as she walks... I HAVE to know...
"Nice day...", I attempt.
"Yeah...cooler for a change..." she responds.
"You live in those apartments back there? I ride past them every day... pretty nice?" I ask.
"Yeah, they are... I like that they are so close to work!" she says.
I leave a long pause. ...SO CLOSE TO WORK... her words echoed in my head, bouncing madly in my skull like marbles. It stings. Can she hear herself?
"Well, have a good day... enjoy the weather." I leave her and alter my path to head towards my building. That's as far as I let the conversation go...
If she didn't gather what I was insinuating, there was no way a forced argument was going to change her perception. Perhaps there was something I was missing -- perhaps a doctor's appointment later that day, having to pick up a child at a far-away school, ANYTHING.... but digging further would have been too intrusive, and confrontational.
Maybe I should have been confrontational - but I just couldn't. Some people you just can't reach...and that's truly unfortunate. I hope my timing is off this afternoon, on the way home -- I hope I don't see her drive back to her apartment, watch her get out and simply walk inside - having driven a total of 1.5 miles for the day.
I alter my path, to chase her down. Maybe a simple suggestion, no matter how it's received, wouldn't hurt. Leave the heels at work, wear walking shoes from home to the office. Take advantage of the wheeled office-bag to lighten your load.
Maybe tomorrow I'll see her walking to work... just maybe...
It's worth a try.