Having a moment for strangers
Yesterday, on my way from the vet (with my nine-kilo monster cat in a box) I got stopped by an elderly gentleman. He initiated a conversation in the simplest of ways: — is this a Pers, your cat? Usually, I murmur a quick answer under my nose in an attempt to run away. But as the weather was nice and I wasn’t in so much rush anyway, I proudly showed him my Ginger Baron: — he is a Norwegian Forest.
What I didn’t realize was that that question was in a way a trap and that I went straight into it. Half an hour later I listened to songs sung in Russian and a declamation of my national poetry. I was invited to join a three-year nursing course and examined from the unknown proverbs. My hand was going mute from holding Ginger and I was laughing and wondering: — who is this person I was stopped by?
It has turned out, he was a doctor living few streets away who suffered from Alzheimer’s and many other diseases, and who every other day would be driven to the grocery store by the very same taxi driver. He was a professor in the nursing school who, as he himself claimed suffered from a teacher’s disease — a chronic need for lecturing anyone who would listen.
As I was departing after quite a long while, he shouted after me: — I envy your husband!
— What do you envy? — I asked (obviously expecting to hear that he has envied me as a wife).
— The cat, of course — his reply made me laugh at myself for the rest of the day.
As I came home, fed Ginger who was looking at me with a really annoyed face, I wondered: — how often do we miss people and their stories as we rush through our lives? Is it really too bad to stop for a moment and be sang to in Russian? Or is it a little treasure found on the way to whatever we run to next.