September 23rd, 2019


Am I a Terrible Person?

By G. E. Shuman
Several weeks ago, my wife and I were on one of our weekly, necessary, grocery shopping trips. We try to shop weekly, as neither of us enjoys doing it more frequently than that, and they are necessary trips, because we like to eat, and our food comes from stores. In any case, and I don’t remember the details, it must have been Lorna’s turn to go in and buy something from whatever store we were parked in front of, as I found myself sitting alone in the car, in the parking lot, for a while.

I do remember that it was snowing, and snowing quite hard. The snow was that kind of sticky stuff that seems to gather with its friends somewhere up in the sky, and float straight down, as huge mega-flakes, splattering on the ground and everything else as if it needed to cover the earth as quickly as possible. My windshield got covered up almost completely, between intermittent swipes of the windshield wipers. That’s how fast and furiously it was falling. (That last sentence is an example of alliteration, in case you missed your writing lesson this week.)

As I sat there watching the snow fall, something that seemed funny, but, somehow, a bit sad happened in front of my car. I did feel somewhat guilty that I did nothing to prevent it from happening, but I also didn’t want to embarrass the person that I saw, and, besides that, almost couldn’t believe what I was seeing. The more I watched, the more I smiled. (My watching and smiling is the reason for the title, above.)

You see, an older lady, (yes, there are people older than me, contrary to what my seventh-grade students seem to think) came out of one of the stores and approached her car, which happened to be parked almost in front of mine. She opened the door to the back seat and took out a snow brush. This seemed like a perfectly normal thing to do, considering the circumstances. Next, she proceeded to, very meticulously, brush off the driver’s window and door of the car. After this she moved down the side of the car, cleaning off the other window and door, as well. Following this she moved to the back, removing every snowflake from the rear window and trunk, and then made her way around the rest of the car, brushing every bit of snow from each area, as she went.

Eventually the lady found herself back where she had started brushing, at the driver’s side front door. I couldn’t help but notice that she stopped and stared at that door for just a moment. I began to smile a bit, as I realized what she was realizing just then, that the door was covered again with all that fluffy white stuff she had so carefully removed moments earlier. To my slightly fiendish enjoyment, the poor lady began a second trip around the car, carefully removing ALL of the snow, once again. I know that I just should have gotten out and brushed the car for her, but from what I saw, I don’t think my cleaning job would have satisfied her at all. Truthfully, as she made her way around the car that second time, I sort of watched that driver’s door, wondering how much new snow would be on it by the time she had made one more orbit of the vehicle. Am I a terrible person?

Eventually, once again, the lady found herself back where she started brushing, at that driver’s side front door. To my utter delight, and I know how bad that sounds, she stopped again and stared, momentarily, at the newly snow-covered glass and door. Please venture a guess at what she did then. If you guessed that she began brushing the car off, heading around it for the third time, you would be right. If you also guessed that I had to cover my mouth to prevent an outburst of laughter that the lady probably would have heard, you would be right a second time. Really, am I a terrible person? I think I must be, but it was like watching someone try to towel-dry their car in a down pour. It just couldn’t work, and I still want to chuckle every time I think about it.

This third time, the lady did do a less than perfect job of brushing off the snow, and then got into her car and drove away. If she had not, and had started around the car for lap number four, I would have gotten out and helped her. Really, I would have. Well…I THINK I would have. Am I a terrible person?

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