Friday, June 18, 2010

Idle Time

There's a little tableau that unfolds every morning in the parking garage at work. A car pulls up by the door that leads to the elevator that leads to where we work. A guy driver gets out, casually dressed, and comes around to the passenger side, where he opens the door for a lady who emerges, dressed for work. I think she is carrying her purse, a work tote, and maybe a lunch.

As the car idles, they talk, hug modestly, and exchange a little good-bye peck, and she walks on to the doorway as he heads out.

My take, and of course I'm only engaged in speculation here, as the syndicate attorneys like to claim, is that he is retired, she is still working and he enjoys taking her to work every day.

I suppose he comes back to get her in the afternoon, but I never see her except for the morning. For all I know, she has jogging gear in her tote, and runs home every night.

And I don't know how long they have been married. They are each a bit older than I, so there's a chance that they have been together for many decades.

Or, they could have each been widowed or divorced, and have only recently found each other, sinking new roots into a stony wasteland.

Or, they could have been lonely clouds for all these years and found love in the early autumn of their lives.

Or, it might not be any of my beeswax. That, we know for sure. But it's fun to wonder, and no matter where they have been for the years before this one, for now, they have love and tenderness, expressed in a tender morning scene as others park their cars and listen to the last few notes of Isaac Hayes's version of "By The Time I Get to Phoenix." (That would be I.)

You never know. I was talking to a friend who was a security guard at a hospital, and he told me there is a certain look that he saw on people who were walking out of the building, that look that told all who saw it that the bearers thereof had just received the worst possible news from a doctor, and were heading home to sweep up the pieces of the broken dish that their lives had just become.

And from the same building, he would see the happy smiles of people who had just found out that the procedure had worked or the cancer had gone into remission or that things were healing just as expected, and the worst that they had feared was not going to be.

And of course, the happy couples taking home a brand new member of the family. Nothing can beat the smile of new parents.

So, to the man and woman in the garage, I am the guy who scuttles past and looks the other way, so as to allow you all the privacy you need in the time you share.

But if you look, you will see the beginnings of a happy smile on my face. Or maybe you can just sense it.

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