A boring story but it’s all I’ve got

Went to work early this morning, cut out for five hours to go shopping, and just came back. I’m usually at my best past 7 p.m., but I’m having a hell of a time getting started again. But it just goes to show — the only day I can take a lunch break is on a Saturday!

At a time when I’m really starting to see that people cross our paths at certain times for a reason — and that we exit each others’ lives for a reason, too, because God’s comic timing is apparently impeccable — I thought I was put in someone’s path yesterday to be a blessing. But I’m scratching my head over what her purpose was in my life.

I went home last night (past 8 p.m.) and found a woman who had been locked out of her unit. She wasn’t wearing a coat and looked panicked. She asked if I knew the emergency number at our complex, and I said I did. I pulled out my phone and asked if she had a phone or if she wanted to use mine.

She had a fanny pack (!), which she was riffling through and ended up dumping out all over the sidewalk. I figured she really didn’t have a phone and didn’t want to say it, so I dialed the main office and told her to listen to the recording and choose the right option.

She listened for a minute and it occurred to me that she might have been drunk or just plain loopy, because she said it was an advertisement and there were no options to get lockout assistance.

Now, I’ve called the number enough times to know that yes, it says where we’re located, but it also says to press 2 for emergencies. So, I called back, pressed 2 and handed it to her.

She left some bizarre message for them and handed the phone to me. I hung up and asked if there was anything I could do.

I was thinking of offering a blanket or a sweater; I was already planning on letting her into the building to wait since she was in a T-shirt. But she said, “Got a smoke?”

And since it’s been a rather challenging couple of weeks at work — not to mention that Sabre and I have professional meetings over a cigarette because she’s bustin’ her butt for me right now — I had a pack in my pocket. (I’m only smoking one or two a day. I promise to quit again after this BIG FREAKING PROJECT dies already.)

I thought it was a little presumptive to ask for one, but when I handed it to her, guess what? She said, “Can I have two?”

You know, when I’ve been locked out of my place, I NEVER asked anybody for anything. The one time I had to borrow someone’s phone, I went back outside and waited till help came. I didn’t ask to have a smoke or anything because I had assumed I had intruded enough.

I walked away, scratching my head. She wanted to stay outside so she could smoke. I asked if she had a light, because I have “doormat” stamped to my forehead apparently, and she mumbled that she could find one. I was wondering how, since she was locked out of her place and, I assume, her car. But I was doing a “last chance to go inside” and she wasn’t biting.

Now maybe it says something about who I am, but I actually thought of taking her a coat so she could stay outside. But I thought, fuck that noise. I was exhausted and all I wanted to do was go to bed. I told her what my apartment number was so she could buzz me when she needed to get in. I didn’t hear back and I hope maintenance got there quickly.

I don’t know why I’m telling the story. Lack of anything interesting to say, really, since I canceled both my brunch plans today AND my dinner plans, so I’m pretty much all out of stories. (Not like I post my social activities, anyway. But still.) I guess I’m just glad that I can always manage to be nice and helpful and patient when people are in need, even if they don’t have the wherewithal to, oh, SAY THANK YOU.

I’m trying hard not to lose my faith in people, but it’s times like this when I am reminded that others are lucky to have/find me — I have this pesky tendency to CARE. It’s not an expectation I have of people, but it’s one that’s OK to have of me.

Maybe that’s my lesson — that I can always walk away from a situation and know that I did what I could. Or maybe it’s just what comes around, goes around. It was in that very same parking lot that another neighbor gave me a jump so I could drive to the mechanic.

It’s funny. I live in a cold city where no one even acknowledges that someone is standing next to them. But where I live, where everyone steals each other’s parking spots and would step over their cold, lifeless bodies, we all really do get out heads out of our butts when it’s needed. So, hopefully the bizarre woman I helped will get her head out of her fanny (pack) and do something useful for someone else next time around.

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