I live quietly. I like it that way. I enjoy the interactions with my Monday Tai Chi class. One hour of exercise followed by gathering at a local cafe for lunch. A cheerful bunch of women.
When I go to the gym on Wednesdays, I enjoy my session more if one of two favourite young people are on the desk. Those two remember my name, give broad smiles and like to share a laugh.
I look forward to stretching with Lu on Fridays. We chat and laugh as she puts me through my stretches.
So I have a few regular activities that give me interactions with other adults. But my day is made when there's a totally unexpected connection with a stranger.
Like last Tuesday. I was going to a movie theatre that I haven't attended for quite some time. I drove past and around the corner before I realised I'd been in the right street, so it was once more around the block before finding a park. Pretty good going for me. I walked up the street past a tall scruffy youth with his grubby red back to front baseball cap, slouching on a plant box clutching his skate board. Looked a bit sullen and morose.
While I was noticing the lad I wasn't noticing where I was going and got to the corner all befuddled. I hadn't found the theatre. Turned around and went back to where I thought it should be. No theatre. Hmmm.
It was after 5.30 pm but a young lady was decorating a shop window with the shop door ajar so I stuck my head in and asked for her help, telling her with my best nice old lady chuckle that I couldn't remember where the theatre was. I got no further before she rushed to my side with a big smile, lead me outside and pointed that is was right next door. The entrance was right in front of the lazing youth. Last time I was there a food court had been there, now there is a narrow corridor leading to stairs up to the theatre. I thanked the lass, telling her to stay young as long as she could because getting old is a real bugger.
The idle youth became interested and when I came level with him remarked that he's done the same thing, walked right past the entrance and he was only 18. I actually looked at him this time and he was smiling broadly and kindly. He added there was a lift near the stairs if I didn't want to climb the stairs and did I want him to help me? No, he wasn't taking the, um, Michael.
I felt like giving him a hug and apologising for my assumptions. How wrong had I been? Shame on me.