There is a woman who walks with her two sons to the bus stop every morning. She wears a faded, puffy pink bathrobe and carries a mug of hot liquid. She has the kind of walk that makes you think she’s got attitude, like she doesn’t give a shit what you think of her; she’s comfy and that’s all that matters. The first few times, my internal eyebrow shot up and I thought she was ‘one of those women’ that blabbered to all and sundry about achievements and what she’d been up to and generally just being nosy. I judged her, I admit it. Because I’m the opposite. I would never been seen outside in my bathrobe. Perhaps if I lived in England still, I might be seen opening the front door to retrieve a pint of milk on the doorstep before sliding inside with a panoramic glance to see who might be watching. I am not that visually comfy sort of person. And because this woman was so different, I turned my nose up and away.
It nagged at me, my reaction to her; she kept invading my thoughts. This morning, as I bent over to dry my hair, I brought it forward like a subject to his master and decided to consciously process my reaction to her presence in order to find the love instead of perpetuating the cycle of mental sneering.
Today, I waited with my kids and she sauntered toward the bus stop, sans hot liquid but still fully swathed in the bathrobe. And, today we had a conversation. It began with the flyers for the lost kitty stuck on all the lampposts then moved to the roofers who had come to fix and repair all around the community, and finally ended with her asking how my weekend was, very sincerely. We commiserated over the never ending loop of laundry, soccer practice and matches, housework and food prep. She explained the circumstances that allow her an hour of freedom every morning after the kids get on the bus and before she has to go to work. I bonded with the fact that I have the same hour after work but before the kids get off the bus.
She is a genuinely nice woman. Chatty, open, warm and welcoming. Not the sauntering, know-it-all, community gossip I had pegged her for. Well, maybe she is, I don’t know her that well but in taking the first step to blowing up preconceptions, I am closer to being happy in myself. And I am loving that. So much.
However, this does not mean that I shall be walking my kids to or from the bus stop in any kind of clothing that should be worn prior to or after bedtime and shower. Just so you know.