the sidewalk, on a snow day
I had to actually go to the grocery store today. Physically. Cambridge Instacart Shoppers melt at the first sign of snowflakes. The trip itself was uneventful enough: lots of nodding and serious looks and pretending like i know how to pick out produce (as if anyone actually knows how to pick out produce). Walking back with my plastic bags, already feeling oppressed by the people in front of me with their enviro-friendly backpacks and linen totes, I contorted myself to avoid getting slush on my boots. Interpretive dance: The Sidewalk. Finally I walked by a woman wearing ridiculous pink snow pants and a puffy coat with the hood pulled over her head. Her pants made that annoying swishy sound as she walked by. I scoffed to myself, feeling superior in my jeans, unbuttoned overcoat, and barely-slushy boots. “There’s hardly any snow on the ground lady. The sidewalk you’re walking on is essentially dry. It’s not even cold.” Idiots don’t know how to deal with winter.
The next block I saw you jogging toward me. We were both on the left, since the right side of the sidewalk was still snowy. Lazy shovelers or something about a budget. Anticipating awkward stoppage, I moved to the right side and walked in the snow so you could get by.
As you passed we exchanged glances. Neither of us smiled, but I felt like we looked at each other’s eyes long enough for it to count as looking. Just as you were almost past, I realized I had unintentionally been doing something weird with my face. Obviously, I immediately stopped doing the weird thing and put on my handsome-squinty look. I realize in hindsight you may have interpreted this change as a very creepy facial gesture directed at you. Given the chance, I would've gone with handsome-squinty and delicately transitioned to kind-and-thoughtful-smile.
I’m envious of the lady in the pink pants—I wish I had a hood like that. She is more prepared for these States of Emergency.