Yesterday was Groundhog Day, which means I need to get some stuff off my chest before I seamlessly transition into the main point of this post. Is that okay? You don’t really have any say in this, but it’s important to make the audience feel included.
Alright, here’s the thing. When they say that a groundhog saw its shadow, does that mean its eyes actually looked down at the shadow, as if to have an a-ha moment?
What if the shadow is there, but the groundhog never looks down at it? Does that still count as seeing the all-knowing shadow? Or is it just, “Aw shucks, so close to making eye contact. Just wasn’t in the cards this year.”
This has always bothered me. Why are we harassing groundhogs, anyway? (Don’t answer; I don’t care). When the aliens come, good luck explaining this tradition to them. That’s all I have to say.
As for me, I did not see my shadow yesterday, as I made a 15-minute walk from my house to the local Subway for lunch. You know what I did see? A lot of yellow snow.
My goodness, it’s an epidemic. Where’s the weather forecast on this? What do the urination splash patterns of pets in outdoor settings tell us about the likelihood of anything?
“Yellow snow is a sign that it will be raining cats and dogs for the next twelve months. So, grab what you need and start barricading the windows because once you’re in, urine. I’m Precipitation Paul, signing off.”
Well, there you have it.
Anyway, I get to Subway…except, I don’t. I open the door to the place next to it because I’m a fool. I took one look inside, realized I was lost and needed an adult, and closed the door.
I found out later it was a Shawarma place, so if they track me down for questioning, my official story is I was cold and wanted to get sh-warm.
So I get a sub for my Dad and I – (insert story about how they asked me, “Do you want toasting?” and I replied, “No toasting”) – and make my way back outside to walk home.
I get to an intersection and there are people getting off a bus, also walking to the corner, waiting to cross. It should be noted that the snow plow had pushed a mountain of snow right to the curb, thus giving every pedestrian a calf workout when they climb Mt. Snowlympius, just to cross the street.
On top of that, the sidewalks weren’t cleared because why would they be?
As I’m waiting for the lights to change, this elderly lady comes up beside me and starts talking to me as if we’ve known each other our whole lives.
I wasn’t too phased by it because strangers always talk to me. Seriously, in a crowd of people, they’ll seek me out.
I’ve got the face they’re looking for.
She was saying it’s hard to walk around and that the city needs to do a better job cleaning the sidewalks. At this point, I realized she was crossing the same way as me and there was a mound of snow blocking our entry into the road.
Sure, there was a small path created by others, but it’s not like an elephant had come by to clear it entirely. There was still some climbing that had to be done.
So I reached out my hand and asked, “Do you want some help?”
She immediately took my hand and we just stood there holding hands, until the lights changed. There was even a moment when she started to inch forward, but the walk signal hadn’t changed yet, so I told her to hold back.
It was the cutest thing in the world, man. “Totes adorbs” as the youth say.
As we crossed, the road was clear, so she let go of my hand and started thanking me for my help, and told me the mound of snow at the next curb wasn’t so bad and I could go on ahead.
That was just her Canadian guilt setting in, though. She thought she was holding me up, when really she was making my day.
I didn’t go ahead. I walked with her and when we got to the next curb, I took her hand and helped her through the snow.
The whole thing was so heart-warming, we fogged up every car window at that intersection.
She then told me her son doesn’t want her out in this weather, but she’s been stuck at home for the last two weeks and wanted to go grocery shopping.
This lady was about 5’3, but was a force of nature. No one tells her to stay home, ya hear?
She was thanking me profusely, while I kept saying it was no problem and wished her a “good day” enough times to hold her over for the next week.
Having completed the Canadian ritual of dishing out the same compliment multiple times, we went our separate ways…except we were walking the same way.
Our little final two alliance continued for eight more seconds until we finally split up.
We knew each other for about 90 seconds – if even that long – and will probably never see each other again, but for those 90 seconds we were best friends.
As I write this now, my heart is still full of joy from that encounter. I can’t explain it better than that.
I couldn’t even tell you if there were other people crossing that intersection with us, because I was so focussed on our conversation, and getting her through the snow safely.
It was like a snippet of a dream that you forget the next day, but I don’t think I’ll ever forget this.
If I’ve learned anything in my life, it’s that parents, the elderly, and children, absolutely adore me. Those three groups are, somehow, my target audience. It’s the crowd in the middle I don’t know what to do with.
And that’s perfectly fine with me.
I encourage all of you to do a good deed tomorrow, whether it’s for someone you know or a stranger, if only to feel the same amount of joy that I felt in helping an elderly lady cross the street.
Thanks for reading!
Written while listening to: Just For Tonight – One Night Only
I’m trying something new where, at the end of my posts I’ll include the song I was listening to, as I wrote. It’s normally just one song on repeat
because I’m a psychopath. Maybe this will encourage you to do the same at the bottom of your posts, and hopefully we’re all introduced to some new music. Just an idea. It may not stick. We’ll see.
Have you ever had a heart-warming interaction with a stranger?