I wanted to be angry at that little blue car that parks next to the tree right by my driveway on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. It makes it tricky for me to pull out and go the direction I want to. I'm sensitive about my driveway. Somehow my driveway, with my car parked in it, is invisible to some people. They park in front of it blocking me in, and after I search the neighborhood and find the culprit, there is often an excuse, "this street is so crowded, there was nowhere else to park," and I use this as an excuse to be pissed off. I fire off angry comebacks about 'my' driveway, rude behavior, inconvenience (I've even done this with an EMT). Did I mention that I live next door to an assisted living facility? It's a house in my neighborhood and there are some folks in wheelchairs and lots of people cooking and sweeping and many cars coming and going. The people who work there don't block my driveway. They know better.
This morning I sat down at my desk and was checking my email when the tiny blue car pulled up and parked in the non-spot that it barely fits into and I immediately clench my teeth and imagine the minute or so of challenge I will have as I attempt to exit my driveway later this morning. I think about opening my window and yelling, "Hey, that's not a parking spot - do you know how hard that makes my life?"
I peer out the window as the man exits the car. Dark hair, mid forties probably. Neatly dressed and bundled up against the cool January morning air. He quickly walks toward the assisted living and the path toward Grand Avenue, and I lose sight of him. I assume he works on the avenue. I mumble under my breath, and start deleting emails. My preoccupation with the blue car and the man wanes as I ponder, type, delete. Suddenly he is back in my view. Blue car man rushes to his car, opens the passenger door, and grabs a scarf from the seat. He turns and stands for what seems like several minutes and then breaks into a smile. An elderly man with a cane slowly makes his way up the sidewalk. He stops next to blue car man, who kindly touches his shoulder and wraps the scarf gently around the old man's neck. The younger man takes the free hand of his companion and they slowly depart on a morning walk.
I feel a tightening across my solar plexus as I witness this intimate encounter. I feel a pang of guilt, as my dad just moved into an assisted living facility in Ohio, and for reasons I will not elaborate here, I have yet to visit him there, let alone to accompany him on a morning walk.
I stare down at the blue car and notice how drastically my perception has shifted. I am no longer having angry thoughts. I feel a sense of awe. The tender care that blue car man showed his companion has elevated him to hero status in my book. I take a deep breath. Maneuvering out of my driveway on Monday, Wednesday and Friday has forever changed.