Ahhh. One of life’s simple pleasures: kicking off your boots after a day in the saddle. Isn’t the feeling of the air tickling it’s way through your toesies heavenly?
That’s just what I did this past Saturday as I headed for home on the Orient ferry. I sat out on the deck, watching the gulls float on the air, the waves fold and undulate and enjoyed the evening air on my pigs. And like any Instagrammer worth their salt, I shared a picture of my feet.
Not long after posting the photo, a friend commented: “Really? A shot of the feet???”
That wouldn’t make sense to most people. So, I’m going to share a little story with you about something that happened to me last week~
File Under: Truth is Stranger Than Fiction
On Thursday I had an offsite meeting with a client. We finished up around 4:15 and I happily strolled out in to the sunshine, feeling good and enjoying the warm afternoon weather. Leave it to the onset of spring and finishing up your day before 5pm to put a little pep in your step.
My heels click-clacked across the parking lot as I made my way toward my car. Like I’ve done a billion times before, I swung the drivers door open, flung my purse in to the passenger seat and sat myself down. As I raised my hands to the steering wheel I got that “wait, no… too tight,” feeling because I’d sat on the bottom of my jacket. I opened my car door, got out and stood with it ajar and took my jacket off.
In the time it took me to turn my body and toss my coat onto the front seat, a young man of about 20 was standing on the other side of my open door. He startled me as he seemed to appear out of nowhere. Standing about my height, wearing a backpack and a light jacket – he looked like a typical college kid.
Looking me directly in the eye, he said in a quiet voice and unhurried pace:
“Excuse me, would you mind terribly…” and he paused.
It’s astonishing how quickly your brain can process information. In the blink of an eye you can run through a million thoughts and yet the feeling of time almost standing still is present. My mind went in to overdrive wondering if he was going to ask for a ride, or my purse, or… if he was going to stab me or something. But, he just stood on the other side of my car door, still staring deep into my eyes and he finished his thought:
“…if I sniffed your feet?”
Did he just…? What?! Did he really say that? Have I finally had a psychotic break? I felt like my reality had been cleaved.
Acting on instinct as much as anything else I just said “Eww, no!” and with the uncharacteristic grace of a figure skater I fluidly pivoted, slipped into my car, closed the door, pressed the start button and drove out of the parking space in a matter of seconds. In that motion I was able to process that he just stood there watching me leave with a dejected, almost hurt expression.
I pulled over about 50 yards up from where I’d been parked and put the car in park. From my rearview mirror, I watched him. Part of me expected to see him laughing and high-fiving with friends for messing with some lady. But he didn’t. He just walked slowly across the parking lot. He was alone.
On the surface, it might seem like an innocuous question but something about our interaction immediately sent me in to flight mode. I’m not really a “scaredy cat” type but the little voice inside of me set my body into unconscious motion.