Vail Daily column: Just my imagination running away with me
July 2, 2010
I’ve always had an active imagination, which is both a blessing and a curse.
On the plus side, I’ve deceived myself into believing that the lady who asked if I was the rock star Sting was walking her pet German Sheppard instead of a seeing eye dog. I’ve also convinced myself that I have rhythm.
But on the downside, I often imagine sad situations and scenarios that sometimes keep me up at night. Luckily for me, my imagination is also mixed with large does of narcissistic delusion so those sad situations and scenarios are mostly imagined happening to others instead than me.
That certainly was the case last weekend when while biking to work I happened upon a mother and daughter trying to cross a busy street.
Looks can be deceiving, and granted my encounter with them was brief, but here is what I saw and imagined: They appeared to me to be either mother and daughter or sisters.
The older one looked tired, overweight and out of place in our resort town, as did the younger one. Both wore ill fitting clothing – too tight and I noticed some stains and both seemed to be slightly mentally disabled. They were holding hands.
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Traffic was brisk, but they were at a cross walk and had the right of way.
Despite that, they seemed nervous and untrusting that the vehicles would stop to let them cross. I watched as they would take a few steps towards the center, see a vehicle approaching, and step back.
I too was waiting at the intersection trying the cross the road on my bicycle. I was hoping they would make their way across, causing traffic to stop thus allowing me navigate across the road as well.
I watched as they made a few false starts and retuned to the sidewalk. The oncoming traffic seemed as confused as they were. Finally I got off my bike, joined them on the sidewalk and said, “I think we can get across now. Come on, I’ll walk you across.”
After taking a couple of steps off the sidewalk, traffic stopped. I looked over my shoulder and motioned them to join me; they did so reluctantly. When they made it to the other side, I was waiting.
“Drivers are pretty polite here,” I said. “Once they see you in the crosswalk they’ll stop for you.”
There was no response or eye contact made, once they reached the other side they turned and walked slowly down Main Street still holding hands.
There are many plausible explanations. Possibly they didn’t speak English or were hard of hearing. It could be they weren’t really intimidated, rather they were unsure about where they were heading. It is also possible both were not developmentally disabled. For all I know they could have been two vacationing nuclear physicists.
But what I saw were two scared, mentally challenged, sad, overweight women trying to get across the street. And despite my admitted overly active imagination, I believe my assumption to be true.
And that brings me to my point, which is so obvious I’m almost embarrassed to bring it up.
Life is not fair.
It is no secret that bad things happen to good people and good things can happen to those undeserving. Even the so called success stories are often influenced by luck, geography and genetics.
That is why God and heaven is such an appealing concept. Certainly we would all like some heavenly recompense not only for the spiritual reassurance but also to ward off both pity and guilt. Pity for those cursed and guilt from those of us not.
Just as a Godly remuneration is a comfort and rationalization for good fortune, so is the thought that a sad situation is only as painful as the snuffers’ awareness. Unfortunately, both those possibilities can be a stretch for those cursed with an analytical mind. But getting back to the ladies struggling to cross the street, yes they were out of place and perhaps mentally challenged, but they had each other. Hopefully loving and being loved for them was enough. And I can only pray that is not all in my head.
Jeffrey Bergeron, under the alias of Biff America, can be seen on RSN TV and read in several newspapers and magazines. He can be reached at email@example.com.
Biff’s book “Steep, Deep and Dyslexic” is available from local book stores or from http://www.webersbooks.com.