I was going to start out this post with a story from my morning. But now I’m distracted by a negative story, so I think I’ll start with that to get it out of the way. To cleanse myself of it, if you will. Or even if you won’t. Though I don’t blame you if you won’t. Anyway, I was just walking back from the gym to work in the lovely Wisconsin springtime sunshine (you may ask why I don’t just exercise outside, and I get your point, but please just shut it) and smiling away. I passed by a man that is quite frequently on the Square. In fact, I saw him not that long ago, on the Square, and as he was walking towards me, he threw a saran-wrapped sandwich into the street. When I looked at him curiously, he said, “I didn’t want it anymore.” Hmm. Well, anyway, since it was such a nice day I didn’t let this bother me when I saw him today sitting on a bench on the Capitol lawn. Because the weather was so nice, I didn’t even take offense at the Cubs hat he was blatantly sporting. When he asked me for some change, I politely apologized, saying that I had none, which was true. I smiled throughout, which I realize is not exactly a gift to anyone, but something I consider civilized and, unfortunately, rare. He then said, “I notice you’ve got a baby there.” I just kept walking, thinking, “Oh no.” And then he shouted, “How far along are you? Three months?” I turned around, smiled, and said, “I’m not pregnant.”
Um, fuck you.
On a brighter note, and what I really wanted to write about, is this morning’s surprising encounters. I was out at my bus stop early this morning — 8:15 a.m. This is crazy-early for me but my friend Gwen was introducing a speaker at a DOJ-sponsored training and I wanted to be there. As I stood on the corner that I have been standing on most week day mornings for four years, I held a book in my hand. Something that I do almost every time I am waiting on that corner. I have read some very interesting, lovely, breathtaking books over the years. Of course, I’ve also read some snoozers and annoying ones. Anyway, no one has ever said a word to me about my book. From time to time, the bus driver might make a crack about the book I’m holding. One time a bus driver said, “You must be a student teacher.” What? Anyway, today, though, was different. I am reading City of Thieves, sent to me by my beloved Kristin. As I stood on the corner, a middle-aged woman in a long blue trenchcoat approached and stood waiting for the light to change to cross the street. She turned to me and said, “Great book.” I smiled and said, “Yeah, I just started it, but I’m really enjoying it.” She smiled and went on her way. It couldn’t have been more than one minute later when another middle-aged woman came from the other direction and as she passed me, turned and said, “Great book.” I was shocked. I told her another woman had just passed by and said the exact same thing. She said her book club had just read the book. I told her my friend works for Penguin and had just sent it to me with a post-it attached declaring the books awesomeness. She liked that, smiled and went on her way. The bus came and I went on mine. Smiling all morning. Until jerkface ruined it.