My wallet felt heavier than usual as I walked around today, and I couldn’t stop thinking about the $100 bill that was tucked inside. I thought about how it might be better to have two fifties instead and I considered stopping at the bank. Then I remembered how I had asked specifically for hundreds when I took out my first “stash” earlier in the week, and how the teller had to make a special trip to the back for them. I decided to skip the bank, but will probably get some smaller bills next time.
This had already been happening to some extent the past couple of weeks, but today I really felt that I looked at everybody differently. I felt very warmly toward everyone I saw, and imagined how it might make their day to get this unexpected gift. I looked a lot more people in the eye, and smiled more. Most everyone smiled back.
As I was driving back to my office from a meeting this afternoon, I saw all kinds of people out and about. I realized that I am going to have a hard time on the days I don’t get out of my car or office, and I was thinking about how isolating it is to drive everywhere. Then I saw a man at an intersection sitting on a bicycle. It didn’t come to consciousness at the time, but I think he reminded me of James. Even from a block away I could see that the bike was slightly too small and had seen better days. Once across, he started down the street with a purposefulness I found appealing.
Traffic on Mississippi Ave at lunchtime being what it is, he got away and I decided to turn down the next block to see if I could catch him. There he was, the knees of his long legs popping rhythmically into view over the handlebars. I pulled up beside him, lowered the window and said, “Excuse me!”, having decided that if he gave me a nasty look or didn’t stop I would move on. He stopped right away, and quietly said “yes?”, looking me right in the eye. I jumped out of the car and handed him a wadded up bill, saying, “this is for you”. That wasn’t what I had planned to say at all, but I felt pretty awkward and flustered. He smiled a wonderful but alarmingly toothless smile and said “Thank you! Thank you!” Then he looked down and said “Oh! I thought… Oh! Thank you!” I said “You’re welcome!” then (quite uncharacteristically) “God Bless You!”. I jumped back in my car and took off. I was able to see him heading down the street and I saw him kiss his fingers and then reach into the air in a gesture of gratitude.
I wish I had been more composed and taken a minute to talk. Tomorrow I am going to do my best to not “drop and run”.
Thank you for all the wonderful comments and stories.