When I am alone out in the world, I usually walk around quite intent on my own inner thoughts and purpose. That’s why I’m always startled when strangers speak to me on the street. Unless it’s someplace where I feel that I must be alert to ensure to my immediate physical safety, I am just not paying attention to other people moving around me in public places. And while I do not wish to liken myself to an ostrich with its head in the sand, I do fall into the habit of thinking that most other people are similarly absorbed.
However, now and then I am reminded that that’s not so. I went to dinner with Miss K not long ago and she told me a story that surprised me.
“Remember the first day you came to visit me in the hospital?”
“Yes,” I said.
She told me that I’d left just moments before another friend of hers, a man I’ll call B, arrived to visit. She is fond of this man, and she’d already told him about her best pal – and I do mean all about me, including that I am Mistress Matisse, etc. Which is all quite fine.
Whatever she said about me seemed to stick in his mind, though, because Miss K then informed me that when the elevator near her hospital room opened its doors to allow B to get out, I was there waiting to depart, and he recognized me. It may have been just from her description, or it might have been because he’d already gone and looked at photos of me, I’m not clear about that.
But I’m sure than in my usual way, I just looked right past him and stepped in the elevator as he stepped out. I was undoubtedly either worrying about Miss K, or thinking of the next action item on my day’s agenda.
However, Miss K told me that based on this fleeting encounter, he developed something of a temporary crush on me, albeit in absentia. I accepted Miss K’s assurances that this was something I should be flattered by rather than concerned about. But it was just rather startling. I think I’m an attractive woman, certainly. But I don’t think of myself as someone for whom a total stranger would conceive a slight infatuation after passing me in an elevator. Certainly I didn’t look that glamorous – as I recall, I was dressed for a cold wet day, in jeans and a heavy wool peacoat and my lug-soled Harley-Davidson boots.
I said as much to Miss K, who rolled her eyes at me. “As if that makes any difference.”
So I shrugged and smiled and said to tell him thank you, and we went on with our dinner.
Then yesterday, she told me that B had checked my blog to see if I’d told the story here. I hadn’t, simply because I couldn’t think of any way to tell it without sounding egotistical. But I’ve had a few crushes on strangers myself, so I am sympathetic. And neither do I wish to disappoint any friend of Miss K’s. So, B, I am flattered, thank you. I don’t think any woman is ever displeased to hear that people find her intriguing.
Still, it’s the sort of thing that makes a girl get a little more conscientious about checking her lipstick before she goes out. Apparently I am not as invisible as I think.