I maneuvered my car as close to the library as I could get, for the sky was pouring rain in buckets, and I didn’t want to get drenched returning my books. There was a spot open next to the handicapped zone, and I took it. Grabbing my books, I jumped out of the car.
I heard a woman shout, “You’re not supposed to be here!”
Glancing to make double sure I hadn’t parked in the handicapped, I turned toward the voice. I saw a woman standing by a signpost, soaked to the skin. With relief, I saw that she wasn’t looking at me, and was carrying on a spirited conversation with someone while standing in the rain.
I thought, “I hate those stupid Blue Tooth cellphones…and why would anyone stand in the rain to talk when there is a covered bus stop area just a half a block away?”
Then, my thoughts turned to getting me inside the building, as another gust of wind dashed the rain in my face. Inside the library, I lingered longer than I had intended. The stacks of bookshelves always call to me, and I always have to answer.
Fifteen minutes later, I stepped back out into the storm. The woman was still standing beside the “No Parking” sign. She was flailing her arms, screaming, “Stupid! You can’t tell me what to do! You don’t belong here! Go away!”
In that instant, I realized that she didn’t have a Blue Tooth phone. She was arguing with the sign post! Then, I remembered that I had seen this woman around town before, though I hadn’t really “seen” her. She was one of the street people. You know, the ones you look at furtively out of the corner of your eyes (as if they were “contagious,” and by really looking at them you could catch “it”). Whether she wanders the streets because she has no home or because her poor brain is “broken” I could not say.
“Bless her heart,” I thought, “I hope that sign post moves soon so she can get out of the rain.” I must have laughed or something, because the woman noticed me.
“What are you looking at?” she asked gruffly.
Nonplussed, I stammered, “That…that stupid signpost. It…well…it just doesn’t belong here.”
“I know that’s right,” she said. To my immense relief, she returned to her argument with the sign, as I rushed to my car.
That poor woman with the broken brain stayed in my mind all day yesterday. Her image disturbed my sleep last night. As I sat with my coffee this morning, I realized “why” I couldn’t stop thinking about her.
You see, I realized how very much like her I am. Perhaps, you are like her, too. Our brains may not be “broken” in the same way as hers. But, how often do we find ourselves “standing in the rain” in futile argument with “the signposts of life,” the things we cannot change?