I’ve written before about how strangers come up to me in public places and strike up a conversation. Well, it happened again.
That’s right kids, it’s story time! So make sure you’re sitting somewhere comfortable – may I suggest your freezer? Just pop a squat next to the frozen chicken wings, between the ice cream and jumbo freezes you didn’t know you had.
Quick Poll: Best Freezie flavour. Answer below.
What’s that? You’re all too big to sit in your freezer? Lalalalalala I’m not listening, lalalalalala can’t hear you!
So the other day I had to go get my license renewed. In other words, I had to go stand in a line for a really long time. That is a psychological hurdle you have to get over before you even show up.
I arrived at 11:51am and the line was out the door. After a few seconds, the line moved and the guy in front of me told me to go ahead of him.
Like a good Canadian, I asked him if he was sure. He told me his wife was the one in line and he’d wait outside for her.
A few minutes later, I found myself in between the two doors of this place. I wasn’t outside, but I wasn’t inside either. The doors were both being held open when all of a sudden a worker at one of the counters told us the air conditioning was on and it wouldn’t work if the doors were open.
He made me feel like I was two feet tall. I don’t know, just something about his tone.
I squeezed my way inside.
To my left was an elderly woman, who had a walking boot on her right foot and was leaning on a four wheel walker. To my right was a middle aged man, who was looking at the bank app on his phone.
After a few minutes, he tapped me on the shoulder and said, “Excuse me, I left my bank card at the bank. Can I go get it while you hold my spot?”
Again, like a good Canadian, I said, “Yeah, sure, of course!”
It was at this time that the woman in the walking boot started talking to me.
She told me that she spent the morning at the fracture clinic and was #130 in line. She got there as they were calling #4 in. Needless to say, it had been a long morning for her.
But she was in good spirits! She said she went there with a book, water, and an apple. Her husband – the same guy who let me go ahead of him – picked her up when she called him. I was starting to think he didn’t have much patience.
So the two of us just started talking. No one else in line was talking. Just two people with a 40-year age gap.
We speculated on which bank location that guy had to go to, and if we’d still be there when he returned.
About 25 minutes later, we had moved about 10 feet forward and the guy returned!
He said they wouldn’t give him his card, but they issued him a new one on the spot. I guess it’s for security reasons.
A few minutes later, this guy spilled the beans to me.
He told me he was there because he lost his wallet – meaning he lost his health card, driver’s license, and “a little bit of money, too”. He had no idea where it could be. Then he showed me the pocket in his cargo shorts he normally keeps it in.
I didn’t have the guts to tell him the bottom side pocket of your cargo shorts isn’t the best place for a wallet. That pocket isn’t accounted for when doing the 3-Pocket Pat.
All of a sudden it made sense why he left his card at the bank. He had no wallet to put it in! Also, he loses things.
So then it hit me that this guy was also driving around without a license. I asked him if he had any kind of identification on him. Not even his brand new bank card could vouch for him – it didn’t have his name on it.
He said he had pictures of his ID on his phone. Something told me he’d probably lost his cards before and knew to have a backup plan.
I felt so bad for the guy.
Anyway, we’re getting closer to the front of the line when the lady in the walking boot tells the guy she saw a sign at the front for people who need new cards – they need to fill out a form.
So he weaved in and out of the people in line to pick up the form.
“Alright, who has a pen?”
No one did, so he got one from one of the service desks. He found a table and started filling out the forms.
At this point, the lady whispered to me, “I thought I was having a bad morning, but his is worse.”
Then we got into medical horror stories and how she didn’t want a rod sticking out of her leg. You know, stuff strangers normally talk about.
Then she turned around and saw her husband motioning to her from the door, as if to say, “We can go if it’s going to be too long.”
He is a secondary character in this story, but if this were a TV show, he’d be bumped up to main character by Season 2.
Our buddy came back to join the line and said, “I just realized this form is for people renewing their card, not replacing it.”
Face, meet palm. Palm, this is face. Get cozy.
He had a good sense of humour about it though, and was chuckling about how bad he felt for whoever would have to help him out of this mess.
By now, we were at the front of the line and my deodorant was moments away from entering the danger zone.
Picture the Cliffhanger game on The Price is Right. The yodelling guy gets higher and higher, until he falls off the cliff and plummets to a soft mat below(?), all because he didn’t bother to look down once. Not once! Don’t they tell hikers to always watch where they’re stepping?
Now take that analogy and apply it to the lifespan of deodorant. Thanks.
Hey, don’t judge me! You stand in close proximity with a bunch of other oxygen-dependent beings for a long time, in a building that is supposedly relying on A/C and not the three elementary school-esque fans set up behind the counter, and tell me you won’t come out smelling differently than when you went in.
I don’t know how this turned into a post about armpits, but we’re here now.
Out of our little trio, the lady with the walking boot left the line first. Then the man. Then me.
I finished my business first and was headed out. The man had retreated to a table to fill out forms, while the lady was about to get her picture taken. I walked by her and told her to take care.
She replied with a smile and said, “Alright, you too, hun!”
I exited the building at 12:43pm – 52 minutes after joining the line – with a temporary license and a Final 3 alliance, I think.
Later, I asked my mom why random people talk to me. She said it’s because I look friendly.
Stay tuned for the after story.
It’s funny, because I woke up that day and had this random, unlikely scenario run through my head: “What if I have to leave the line because I really have to go to the washroom? Would I make an announcement and ask if anyone has a problem with me rejoining the line? Would I just ask the people around me to hold my spot? What’s the protocol?”
And then I get there and a guy asks me to hold his place in line.
Strange premonitions like that happen to me a lot. Like that one time I woke up and something told me, “Don’t get in a stranger’s car”, and then an hour later I’m walking down a street and a car pulled over and the driver called me to their window. They were lost and needed directions, but still, I basically predicted that.
I’ve always believed that our lives intersect with others – whether it’s for 52 minutes or much longer – for some kind of reason.
Those two made standing in line much more enjoyable than I thought it would be. Everyone else looked miserable. Maybe I was put in that place because those two had already had a rough morning and I was the friendly face they needed?
Now I’m just tooting my horn.
Anyway, life is weird. And sweaty. Let’s end it there.
You may all hop out of your freezers now.