Be curious, not judgemental. -Walt Whitman
Each and every day I walk to meet my carpool at the car. I walk along the same path at the same time. There is little variation along the way. Every morning I encounter the same people and as I’m rushing off to my carpool they’re rushing along their way. As I wander past them, I like to think about who they are. These are their stories.
The tall man with a briefcase.
Last year I would pass him every morning. He was always the same. He held his briefcase in his left hand and coffee in his right. While his clothes looked pulled together, his hair and facial expression always looked as though he had just woken up. You know that expression you have when you’re awake and moving and doing things but you still aren’t certain why or how it is happening. That is his facial expression. We always passed at the same point on my street, just after number eleven. Then some days he would run late and I would pass him on a different street. Turns out we take the same roads to maneuver through my neighborhood. This year my carpool leaves 15 minutes earlier and so, I rarely get to see the man with the briefcase. On occasion I see him getting his coffee from a shop on my route. He still looks shocked that he’s somehow awake and functioning in the world.
The old woman who judges me.
My favorite person to walk past in the morning is a very judgmental woman. Now, I will admit that I am not very good at dressing as the Polish dress for the seasons. My basic instincts on how to dress for various weather types is always wrong. There are days I don’t think it is that cold out and wear a light jacket and people are dressed full on in winter apparel. Hats, scarves, mittens the whole thing. Then there are days I think ok I’m going to do it, I’ll dress warmly even though the day is cool and everyone is dressed for summer. I honestly can’t win. One thing that I do know about is that I should wear socks and I don’t wear socks. Not even in the winter. Listen, I don’t think socks and flats look good. I work indoors so I see no need to put socks on. To be honest, I don’t even own that many pairs of socks and all the ones I do own are sporty, not dressy. Back to the old lady.
Each and every morning I pass her about at this pet of my journey and each and every day she looks me directly in the eyes the. Looks me up and down with a face of absolute disgust. I am always doing something wrong with my outfits. Always. At first, I didn’t appreciate this part of my morning journey. Now, I look forward to it. I know I’m going to be judged for something. I try to guess what it is going to be before I pass her. Maybe I’m supposed to be wearing a scarf. Maybe it is because my hair is too damp because I didn’t have time to blow it all the way dry. I wonder what she thinks about me besides all the judgy thoughts. I secretly hope she gets to work each day and goes to grab a coffee and talks about the girl she passes on the street who can never dress properly.
We meet a lot of people we never speak to on our journeys. Sometimes, I stop to think about them and I like to think they do the same about me.