This funny thing happened today over a span of about 10 seconds. It was like a gentle cool breeze blowing through my bangs on a hot summer day. The tiniest of mini-vacations. A joy break.
I had just enjoyed a long lunch with friends who are interesting, funny, and easy-to-be-with. I stepped out of the restaurant onto the sidewalk and headed towards my car. About 20 feet away was a group of ladies lingering in the shade still enjoying their lunchtime conversation.*
At 20 feet away, I could only hear the soft mumbles of a conversation. Lady talk.
At 10 feet away, the conversation exploded with empathic outbursts. "Oh, my!" "Oh, my goodness!" "Oh, no!!"
Just as I walked past the group, the "poor dear" put the cherry on top of the anecdote.
"And, we liked to NEVER got it all cleaned up!"
This declaration was followed by a chorus. "Well, my goodness." "Mm. Mm. Mm." "I can't imagine!"
I almost stopped dead in my tracks. So intriguing was this snippet of conversation that it was all I could do not to turn on my heel to join the friendship circle so that I could learn more about the terrible, horrible, very bad mess. That would not have been an unusual thing for me to do. I strike up conversations with strangers in national park bathrooms and in the produce section of the grocery store.
In the 11th second, I decided that not knowing was better. Without hearing the cause that produced the unfortunate effect which produced the cloud of empathy, I could enjoy the conversation for the rest of the afternoon. It was a tiny jewel in the palm of my hand. My imaginaries took hold and began to weave scenarios from multicolored threads of possibilities. And, I've been thinking about it ever since.
A frozen turkey had carelessly been dropped from 10 feet above a turkey fryer filled with boiling oil.
Someone started to blend a strawberry smoothie without putting the lid on the blender. (This came to mind because my youngest son actually did that...one Mother's Day.)
A pack of rambunctious armadillos broke into the house and ransacked the place.
Multiple cats with furball-clogged gullets and diarrhea were left alone in the basement for a weekend.
Twenty-five bored teenaged boys were left alone in a house for 10 minutes.
Red Koolaid spills. Fingerpaint fiascos. Playdoh wars. Millions of legos. Millions.
Oh, oh!! It was a party! A party in which buckets of confetti were showered down upon people that danced in muddy shoes while holding red solo cups filled with red Koolaid.
I didn't even get a good look at the ladies. They might have been red-headed sisters or nurses in matching scrubs or supermodels in bikinis. No, wait. If they had been supermodels in bikinis, I wouldn't have heard a word that was said. I would have been listening to the loud, insecure dialog raging in my own head. They were definitely not supermodels in bikinis. But, this I do know. The conversation piqued my curiosity and then played with my thoughts for the rest of the afternoon.
Thank you, red-headed sisters. Or, nurses. Or, circus trapeze artists. The pleasure was all mine.
*The best conversations are had in parking lots immediately following 2-hour lunches. That is a proven fact.