Friday, September 7, 2007

time lag

What a confusing day. Nothing has gone as planned. The events alone don't take much space to tell, whereas my thoughts throughout the day, while taking up much less actual processing time, are significantly longer in writing.

So, first, here is what happened:

My heart dropped into the pit of my stomach when I was dropped of at the mechanic's this morning and saw that my car still had no windshield in place. I talked to the mechanic overseeing my car and asked for a time estimate on when I could come pick up my car, as my cell phone was low on battery and might not be reliable. And I needed the car before 11:30 if I was going to make my dental appointment at 12. He told me to come at 11:30.

So, it was 8:30am and I was basically stuck there. I walked up the street a ways to the local Border's, which is my fallback and my haven. Except it wasn't open yet, and neither were most stores along the road. But the town green is close by (can we get any more New Englandish?), dotted with picnic tables, and I wandered over to one on the far edge, where there was full sunlight. I do love late summer sunlight, at least the New England kind. There is something in its quality, and in the memories it brings, that is unique and heartwarming.

Anyway, I thought I'd pass the time listening to some music and taking random pictures with my camera. I don't know how long I was there, but probably around 15 or 20 minutes later, a college-aged looking guy, tall, lanky, and scruffy, walked over to where I sat, handed me flowers he'd picked from the plants decorating the town green, wished me a good day, and left.

I was...stunned. It was the first time this had ever happened to me, and it had me smiling the rest of the morning. I wasn't sure what prompted this guy to act the way he did, as I was not only closed off inside the world of my iPod and camera, but also probably looked pretty unapproachable, thinking about the delay at the mechanic. But that simple act of kindness, and whatever else it was he felt, made the day significantly brighter and more cheerful.

Thank you, kind stranger.

Soon after the event I decided to take a walk around the area, past the small stretch of road I was familiar with. When I had rounded a block and walked back, the Border's had opened and I settled in with Ender's Shadow, which I had started reading the last week I was in Taiwan but didn't finish. I was almost done reading it when the mechanic called saying the windshield was stuck in traffic somewhere and they wouldn't have it done until probably 3. Oh. Knowing I had an appointment at noon, he offered to help me find a rental car, but I didn't want to go through that hassle over a dental appointment, so I told him I'd just cancel it and wait for the car to be fixed.

Just when I thought the day was getting better. Oh, well. At least I could reread Ender's Game to compliment Ender's Shadow. So that's what I did. And when I finished, I spent the last hour outside by a picnic table again, writing in a notebook I bought from the bookstore, so I could record all the mess of thoughts whirling through my head. If I can make them more coherent, I will try to put them here.

But, for now, my car has a new windshield, from which bill the mechanic deducted a generous amount for all the time it took to get it done, I spent a day revisiting a favorite novel, as well as reading it's parallel story. Ender's Game always makes me feel sorrowful, and a kind of yearning. I am not sure why.

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