Monday, May 14, 2012


Today I saw a woman sobbing near the airport security line after saying goodbye to someone.  I instantly felt tears forming and as our eyes met, she tipped her head to the side as if to say "How am I going to make it without him?"  (I was imagining it was a 'him' but it could have been her sister who lives in Santiago who she won't see for another year or her mother who is going to New York for specialized treatment of a rare brain tumor.) Anyway, I sniffed and squeezed her arm as I passed by.

Airports are either places of giddy joy, what with the welcoming and happy hugging, or heart-breakingly sad, as with my poor friend today whose husband was likely deployed to Afghanistan for 9 months.

Do you imagine things about people?  I can make up entire scenarios with very little factual information.  This can lead to trouble if I'm not careful.

Take my neighbor, for instance.  I've seen her husband lose his temper a time or two and so when I noticed a few weeks ago that K was home alone for several days - no husband or kids - I deduced that he had taken the children and went to live with his mother.  Of course logically, it would have made more sense if she had left with the kids but this clearly was not the case.  Then K called me and it turns out her husband took the kids to his parents' house for spring break and she was joining them after going to a meeting she couldn't miss.    SO anyway...

Here's the thing - I should know better than to do this.

Gladys Kravitz

When Jeff and I were first married, we lived across the street from Gladys Kravitz in the flesh.  This dear woman would spend her days peering out her front window and would often report to me all she'd deduced about our neighbors - whose kids were misbehaving, who purchased a new fridge and who had an inordinate amount of company.  Then we became the focus of her snooping.

Jeff was leaving to spend a week at summer camp where he would do the program, meaning he took massive amounts of costumes and props.  He borrowed his parents' station wagon and filled it to the top.  (Google "station wagon" if you don't know what it is.  Google "Gladys Kravitz" too - you have no idea who she is unless you're as old as I am.)  As soon as he turned the corner out of our neighborhood, here came Connie marching across the street, a woman on a mission.

She said she happened to notice (ha!) that Jeff loaded a strange vehicle with all of his belongings and left and she wanted to encourage me to seek marital counseling.

The moral of this story is not to fill in too many blanks when 'casually observing' people.

But at the airport, no one can stop me.

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