Thursday, Jul. 28, 2005
For years and years I have been teasing the spousal unit's mom about her penchant for talking to strangers. Seriously, the woman has no grasp of the idea of anonymous personal space and will strike up a conversation with anyone who shares an elevator, line up or crowd situation with her.
And now I find myself doing the same thing.
I was sitting in the park across from the daughter's place of work waiting for the daughter's work day to be done. Beside me on another bench was a young girl in her late teens, early 20's talking animatedly on her cell phone. She snapped it shut and stared vacantly at passing traffic.
I stared vacantly at passing traffic.
Out of the corner of my eye I saw an enormous gray squirrel hop up on the edge of her bench and also stare vacantly at traffic. I couldn't help myself. "Look, there's a squirrel beside you!"
She looked over at me and I could see she was trying to decide if I was dangerous, totally insane, had a learning impairment, or best case scenario just a mildly crazy bag lady.
Around me on my bench was my backpack and several large plastic bags. The bags contained food treats for the spousal unit, stuff I can't find out in the boonies, but from a distance I probably looked like one of those homeless women who carries around her life in a few bags.
"We have squirrels like that out in the country where I live, but ours have really bushy tails," I confided, thereby displaying the sort of conversational finesse seldom seen outside of a pre-school. In my defence I would like to state for the record that her squirrel had a truly pitiful tail that looked more like a cat's tail than a squirrel's tail.
No reply from the young woman.
Another equally placid squirrel joined the first on her bench. You might think that I would take a cue from the young woman's silence, respect her anonymous personal space, but you would be so very, very wrong.
"Our squirrels aren't that tame because my cat Zubby hunts them," I babbled on, thereby ratcheting the conversational quality up to at least kindergarten levels. This would a somewhat one-sided conversation, of course. Unless you count the little bit of chittering one of the squirrels was doing as conversation.
I began to mentally kick myself for being so stupid, for talking to this person I don't know. People don't do this in big cities such as Montreal. I felt old and eccentric and decidedly lacking in sophistication.
"My cats are afraid of squirrels. I have three and even the one who bullies the others is really afraid of squirrels. He'll hop out of the window and run and hide if he sees one in the yard," she said.
I don't know who was more surprised that she decided to reply—her or me.
We compared notes about our cats and their quirks for a few minutes and then I announced that it was time for me to collect my daughter. "It was nice to meet you," she said.
"It was nice of you to say that," was my reply as we exchanged smiles and I crossed the road to the bank where my daughter works.
So let's go down the list:
It's official. I am now a crazy old lady.
Oh, man, how did that happen?
Goal for 2005: 1,250 miles - 2000 kilometers
Want to delve into my sordid past?
She's mellllllllllllllting - Wednesday, Feb. 15, 2012 - Back off, Buble - Monday, Dec. 19, 2011 - Dispersed - Monday, Nov. 28, 2011 - Nothing comes for free - Monday, Nov. 21, 2011 - None of her business - Friday, Nov. 04, 2011 -
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