The other night I waited in the car while my wife was in the grocery store. I saw a guy sitting at an outdoor table — picnic table, really — at the edge of the parking lot. That’s the table where the store employees take their smoke break.
The guy’s head was down and his arms rested on the table top. Scrunched over. He didn’t move. There was a plastic bag on the picnic table in front of him. His long hair was pulled back in a loose ponytail and he wore brown coveralls. I noticed that he twitched occasionally; he was otherwise perfectly still. Passed out?
I watched him for a couple minutes, wondering if I should go check on him or something. From fifty yards away, under the parking lot lights, he looked semi-conscious to me…maybe having a medical emergency? Should I go check it out?
About the time I had decided to do SOMETHING, he straightened up, and I realized he had been writing. The scrunched posture and the twitches were just the natural body language of handwriting.
He stood up, picked up his parcel, and started walking rapidly and purposefully across the parking lot. He was holding a wrapped bouquet of flowers and an envelope.
Voila! All became clear.
He strode to the highway, turned left, and walked out of sight.
What I had perceived as a bad thing was in reality a very good thing. A card and flowers…awesome.
Just another example of how difficult it is to really perceive someone else. As it says, it’s not a bad idea to be “quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to become angry” (or upset, or judgmental).
‘Cause it’s easy to get it wrong.