On any other day I would not have had to drive to the city. From here to there is about 120 kms and at $1.43 per liter of gas it does rather add up. But October 28th was different. For work related reasons, I had to go.
Not being much for city driving or cities on a good day, the enthusiasm level really wasn’t there. Because I work in the health care system, there are certain things that are a requirement, and safety equipment is one. I suppose I’m just a special sort of ducky as the locally done testing was insufficient to determine the needed equipment so I was sent off to the testing facility housed at Regina General Hospital.
Those familiar with the area will cringe as this particular hospital is a sprawling and confusing place. Period.
So I went. In through the main door and checked in by security. Shuttled off to the C*vid screening desk. Around the end and into the line up at the coffee shop to obtain some water. Bottled water doesn’t do my hippie-sensibilities any good, but for lack of options I paid my $2.49 and was then directed towards one of the seemingly endless hallways. Along the hall, down a ramp, around a corner and still another hall. Finally an information desk whose (tongue in cheek) friendly and wise occupants directed me down yet another hallway…..roughly an hour later I trekked my way back the same route to the parking lot.
It was during the ceremony of backing up through a crowded parking lot, whilst fishing for parking change and hoping the ticket didn’t blow out the window when you pull up to the parking booth that my day took a turn for the BEST!
On any other day, I would have not paid much attention to the party taking my money. It’s not unreasonably priced, so the two bucks it was going to cost me was not something I’d file an expense report over. However, on this particular day a flash of color caught my attention.
On any other day the lot attendant would likely have been a somewhat sullen individual whose conversation would have been little more than “two dollars please”. On THIS particular day the attendant was a woman about my age in a tye dyed shirt of rainbow magnificence! She was sporting a necklace of multi-colored zipper pulls on a black chain. From her ears hung fuzzy black cobweb earrings and perched at a jaunty angle on her hair was a little witch-like hat with shiny bits and a bright orange jack-o-lantern.
As I handed her my parking pass ticket I commented on her shirt. “I love your shirt” I said. “Thank you” she replied. “It’s a very happy shirt” I stated – perhaps with a little more enthusiasm that I had intended. She turned towards me and said “I wish everyone thought so! My bosses say its unprofessional”. To which I replied something along the lines of my own experience with catchin’ hell from the boss for my unprofessionalism.
We hit it off like two old friends that had been apart for ages. We talked about how life had become needlessly complex. We cursed the cost of food and inability to make ends meet when one lives in the city. The price of canned black beans came up. A scathing commentary on how so few people harbor a sense of community these days. How modern life has driven people apart in the pursuit of next big thing or the correct automobile…
Just as we were about to table an argument for world peace another vehicle pulled up to depart the maze of RGH and carry on with their day.
The energy of our all too brief exchange has stayed with me. I smile when I think of the silly little hat. The tunic hanging in my closet that is similarly colored makes me grin and think of her. It’s a rare thing when you happen upon someone that on any other day your paths would not have crossed. This lady, in the little parking booth, took what could have been an ordinary day and turned it into something EXTRAORDINARY in less than 5 minutes.
The burning question remains…what do we do with the information? Since I’m not the type that would have begged for a selfie and shot it out on my Instagram immediately it’s taken me a few days to formulate this item. Perhaps the lessons here are:
1. learn to take a decent selfie with your compadre.
2. learn to use Instagram properly so you don’t have to mull over moments such as what transpired and can share the energy of such encounters right away.
3. be less excitable so that I remember to request such mundane details as NAMES
I regret that I did not ask her name!! I recall giving her my website and it is my fondest hope that she’ll one day find this essay and make contact. I would actually drive to the city to enjoy a cup of tea with this colorful, friendly, decidedly unprofessional woman. Perhaps the next time I end up near RGH I’ll pop in just to see if she’s working.
It’s a truly rare thing, encounters such as this. Its a truly sorry statement that I had to move along to make room for the next customer and their two dollars. It’s an even sorrier statement that she and I could not take the time to have a conversation on a sunny morning.
I wonder what this world could be like if moments such as this could just be enjoyed. The bright and positive blessing of energy in a chance encounter that could be shared between two hippies-of-a-feather and then that spark taken in our different directions and shared with others throughout the day. On any other day…