The Signposts of Life

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?

  9 comments for “The Signposts of Life

  1. August 19, 2008 at 6:40 am

    Oh, this one was so great! I know exactly what you mean. I worry and worry and argue about things that just aren’t going to change, no matter what. Such a waste of breath, isn’t it?

    (and that library is a sexy siren, isn’t she??)

    Kaceys last blog post..Coping Just Fine, Thanks

    Indeed, she is a sexy siren, that library. 😉 And waste of breath? I do it every doggone day! Why did it take a homeless woman to make me take a look at that?

  2. August 19, 2008 at 8:01 am

    I dread the day when I start verbalizing what goes on in my head. Egad!

    When my dear to you have time to read??

    janeywans last blog post..R and R
    I get to read in bits & pieces…and I discovered “talking books!” I can listen AND crochet. Ain’t multi-tasking great? Right now it’s P.G. Wodehouse and his “Jeeves” stories.

  3. barbara
    August 19, 2008 at 8:07 am

    very quick thinking, friend. I know that you did not want to hurt her feelings – you are an empathetic soul. Just finished the second afghan and a bag to go with it. I hope to get them into the mail today.

    I didn’t want to hurt her feelings, and I didn’t want her to slap me! Did you recently send an afghan? I haven’t received any lately. Looking forward to delivering a load next month (I have 3 I’m finishing).

  4. Marcia
    August 19, 2008 at 8:34 am

    I love the way you make connections, nothing broken about your brain… well, most days anyway!

    Marcias last blog post..Why is the water three quarters up the beach?

    If you only knew how fractured this brain is….thank goodness you don’t!

  5. August 19, 2008 at 8:50 am

    Came to visit via a suggestion from Kacey, and I’m glad I did…I like to think your affirmation to her may have lifted her ever so much. My heart aches for those folks. There but by the grace….

    Mental P Mamas last blog post..Laws of Attraction

    EEK! I checked my Akismet spam box and your comment was hiding in there. Sorry. I’m glad you came to visit.
    Yes, those homeless folks, and those with “broken brains” tug at my heart, too. And, we could all be walking in there shoes in a heartbeat…

  6. August 19, 2008 at 10:25 am

    Someone must have made you write this just for me. I do feel like I am standing in a rain storm arguing with signpost of life, but I didn’t realize how futile it is until you pointed it out. The timing is amazing. Thank you.

    Oh, Vixen, darlin’, I didn’t write it for you…I wrote it to remind ME! Guess we all stand around arguing at sign posts, don’t we?

  7. August 19, 2008 at 11:24 am

    Well, I fit into this category too. Yikes. I hadn’t looked at it quite like this though. Have a great day Shelly. Big hug. 🙂

    Comedy Pluss last blog post..New Study

    You have the same problem that I have then, Sandee…I forget to look!

  8. August 20, 2008 at 9:26 am

    i love this post! what a great perspective you have. and good grief, my feet are always soaked from standing out in the rain…maybe now i’ll remember to stop arguing and just do what the signs tell me to do.

    danielles last blog post..It’s One Of Those Nights

    😆 I don’t think you necessarily have to do what the signs say…just don’t stand around arguing about it! 😉

  9. August 20, 2008 at 9:31 am

    I know where you are coming from, There are times when trying to get a point across that the one I am talking to catches only a portion of what I am trying to say and will not hear it all and it is useless to keep on. Keep up the good work, Nice reminder.

    Yep. Sometimes a million words won’t change a thing, and you have to just move on 😉

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