Friday, January 23, 2009

Strangers in the Night

I love when something so random happens that it stays with you forever. There was a time when I was rushing through the uneven sidestreets of Bologna in an attempt to get to a bookstore that had a book about the city that I wanted to purchase as a souvenior. I guess I was going between classes because I remember being in a hurry to get there. The bookstore was not far from the University of Bologna and for some reason the streets seemed to be buzzing with pedestrians more so than the usual. Because the streets were small, people were walking close to each other, and I remember listening in on bits and pieces of Italian conversation trying to understand a word or two, hearing friends huddled together as they walked, laughing, etc. but for the most part I was so focused on my mission that I wasn't paying much attention - until I lost my shoe. An Italian guy about my age, I am guessing, had given me a "flat". As he did, it was as if everything on the street froze - except my shoe -which went flying over people's heads and landed on a man about 5 paces ahead of me. Then everything unfroze, the sounds of the streets returned and the man turned around holding my shoe up over his head. The boy behind me and I just stared at each other in shock and horror, and then began laughing so hard, we had to move to the side of a building to get out of the way and catch our breaths. The man holding my shoe manuevered through the crowd to get back to us and the three of us laughed for what seemed like forever. I apologized in my "best Italian"and retrieved my shoe, the boy replayed what happened, we all laughed together again and then we all shook hands and stepped back into the crowds to go our own way.

I love moments like that. Moments shared with strangers that could have gone a completely different way. I could have been hobbling through the streets of Bologna back to class with an angry Italian man charging after me, yelling things I didn't understand while shaking a shoe over his head. But that didn't happen. Instead, I got to share a bottom of the belly shaking laughter with these two people, and looking in their eyes, it was obviously just a shared moment of humanness, of fun, of laughter at ourselves and the sillness in life. I'll never forget it.

Why do I share that? Cause today, I had another moment. While traversing the grocery store, list in hand, and pushing my cart, an older gentleman, (I'd say 60ish or so by his graying hair, although, his dark skin was the kind that I don't think will ever wrinkle so he could have been much older,) and I were trying to manuver around each other without much success. Everytime he'd go left, I'd go right, I'd go left, he'd go right. And each time we'd both apologize. When we finally were able to get it right, I laughed and said, "Thanks so much for the dance!" He laughed and started to walk away, but then came back and said, "Hey, too bad it isn't this past Tuesday night and we weren't dancing to ..and he starts singing "At last..., that was a beautiful song" (in reference to the Obama's inauguration dance) so we cart danced one more time as he sang and we laughed, and then he walked away, on to retrieve whatever he was there to get, waving with his back to me as I wished him a good day.

I saw the same thing in his eyes as I had that day 18 years ago in Italy, which is what brought the memory back along with several others. Do you have memories like that? Memories that you can turn back to when you are having a bad day, or need to remember that there are "good" people out there? I hope so. Write them down!! I just did.

And since this is SUCH a long post, without any pictures... I couldn't resist THIS little dance around the grocery store... I know it's random, but it made me laugh...

How The Day Sounds from Miky Wolf on Vimeo.

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