Settle down children, it’s time for a story.
I woke up yesterday and one of my first thoughts was, “Don’t get in a stranger’s car.” I don’t know why I thought that; I don’t know why half the thoughts in my head are there.
I brushed it off as one of those “teachable moments” for children.
A child, I am not!
Now, on weekends, I sometimes walk to a local plaza and get myself lunch. Doing so helps me stay in peak physical condition and provides me with blog content. That’s where my “walking home with a pizza box in the rain” blog post came from.
Also, it’s just really cool knowing I’m walking somewhere and there will be food waiting for me. The legs move just a little bit quicker. But not too quick or the sweat starts to build up.
I’m aiming for somewhere between a brisk pace and a mall walker. There, now you all know the exact walking speed I’m talking about.
Anyways, I started on my trek (this makes it sound like I’m climbing the Himalayas; good) and at the end of my street there was a little boy and his grandmother. They were about to cross the street, but before they did, she taught him to look both ways to make sure a car wasn’t coming.
I thought that was cool. You know, a nice, teachable moment.
I kept walking.
I got to a point where I could’ve turned onto a street and taken a shortcut. That was my intention. But when the time came, I didn’t take the shortcut. My feet didn’t turn.
Steering wheel malfunction? I kept walking.
Not 7 seconds later, I noticed a car pulled over to the side of the road. I didn’t think anything of it, of course.
As I’m walking by it, the guy in the car honks at me and waves at me to come over to his passenger side window.
My initial thought was, “Oh my God, it’s happening.”
Then I thought, “I better not know this person from high school and have to pretend to care what they’re doing now. How will I casually end this reunion in less than 30 seconds?”
Don’t lie, you would be thinking the exact same thing!
I didn’t even think twice about approaching his car, my feet turned immediately.
I made a mental note of a few things as I walked up to the car. First off, the guy was smaller than me. I had the advantage, but I wouldn’t let that make me put my guard down.
Rey Mysterio won the World Heavyweight Championship in a triple threat match at WrestleMania 22. Small guys can win fights.
Sorry, wrestling reference.
Second, his weapon of choice appeared to be a post-it note. So unless he was going to slice and dice me and throw me into a vegetable soup, I wasn’t afraid of bleeding to death via paper cut.
I got to the car and he told me he needed directions because his GPS had lead him astray. He didn’t use the word “astray” but I thought I’d pump up his vocabulary on his behalf.
He mentioned a street name and Walmart. Suspicious, I thought. Of course he’s looking for Wal-Mart, who isn’t?
And then I read his
weapon post-it note. There was an address to a sushi restaurant.
So where was he going? The sushi restaurant, or Walmart?
“Sir, we’re going to have to bring you in for questioning.”
I listen to way too many crime podcasts, if you can’t tell.
Anyone who knows me knows that I don’t eat sushi. I stay away from the stuff. I was about to give up on this guy. And then I realized, hey, I know the street name he mentioned. I know where that is! I am smart!
I told him to turn around
every now and then I get a little bit…NO.
Let’s try that again, without being interrupted by Bonnie Tyler.
I told him to turn around, turn left at the light, and drive straight, and he’ll see it eventually.
Top notch directions, eh! Five minutes after this encounter I realized that I should’ve told him the street with the Walmart was only about 5-10 minutes away. He probably drove off wondering how long “eventually” was. Poor guy.
So yeah, I wasn’t being kidnapped and I didn’t get in a stranger’s car. I was just helping a lost (and hungry?) soul find his way to Walmart and/or a sushi restaurant.
Moral of the story: I can’t leave my house without a stranger talking to me. I don’t say that as a joke, it’s the truth.
I’ve given directions to about 18% of the country. Okay, that was a joke. It’s more like 24%.
People just come up to me. I can’t explain it. Do I look approachable? Do I look harmless? Or do I look like the only guy walking down the sidewalk when someone is lost and needs directions?
I don’t know. I’ve had strangers seek me out in busy crowds, just to ask me something.
What is it about me that says, “I’m an info booth.” Is it because I carry a bell around with me on my shoulder?
That was a joke.
I’m not complaining. I don’t mind it. I just want to know what it is. And why did I wake up this morning thinking about strangers and their cars? And why did I witness another teachable moment – that lady teaching the boy to look both ways before crossing the street.
WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN!?
I texted my mom the abbreviated version of this story. She replied, “Good boy. You’re very helpful. So many people have come up to talk to me today, too.”
This is hereditary I tell you. My mom and I are magnets that attract strangers.
I can’t even walk down the street without being stopped. Can you? You probably can. Try it. Let me know what happens.
My fingers are crossed that I wake up tomorrow thinking of pizza because, surely, that will lead to a chance encounter with a pizza later in the day. That’s just how my life works.
Follow me on Twitter for more fun stuff @CappyTalks