Tuesday, December 01, 2009

One Step at a Time

"Attention, ladies and gentlemen. It is now 9:00. The library is closed."

I grab my computer and stuff it in my bag, toss my jacket over my shoulder, and head down to the car.

At the top of the steep stairs, I glance down and see a man -- about my age, about my height, about my weight -- already halfway down to the first floor. He's taking the stairs one at a time, with both feet on this stair before moving on to that next one. He doesn't seem to be favoring one leg or the other, just taking his time down the stairs.

Two steps per stair: right foot, left foot. Right foot, left foot. Right foot ... wait for it ... left foot.

I don't know if he has a long-term injury, or a chronic medical condition, or a physical disability, or a mental impairment of some sort. But his approach to the stairs is just different enough to knock me out of my head and -- I don't know why -- it rocks my world.

I'm curious why somebody so like me would do something so unlike me. In light of recent events, I decide not to strike up a conversation with him, but since I'm following him out to the parking lot, I watch and try to figure out more of his story.

He takes short and quick, but careful, steps in the long lobby hallway, and when he gets to the exit, he uses one of the manual doors, not the Automatic, push-button-operated one. After pausing on the sidewalk to let a couple cars drive past, he ultimately short-quick-careful-steps his way to a sensible, nondescript sedan parked in a non-Handicapped spot.

His passenger seems to have been waiting for him for some time; she can barely contain her excited yips and enthusiastic barks when -- at last! -- he opens the car door.

I'm watching from across the parking lot, so I can't see his face, but when he greets the dog, his whole body is smiling; if he had a tail, it would surely be wagging as much as hers.

He pats her head and runs his hand down her golden fur, from her collar to her wiggling butt. Pulling something from his pocket, he invites her into the front seat, where she sits patiently, until the deal is sealed with a treat.

As they drive past me, I can tell that he's talking to her, though I've no idea what he's telling her.

Probably a story about the weird guy who just followed him out of the library and into the parking lot.


Clifton said...

I love it. Nice writing. Warm and fuzzy. One of your many fascinating facets that keep popping out. Do you surprise yourself when you write something like that?

Scott S. Semester said...

Thanks, Clifton! I appreciate your comments -- and I wouldn't say I surprise myself when I write like that. (Because everything I write is brilliant, no? Haha.) It does come across as a rather humbling experience, however -- to get positive feedback about something I wrote, and to feel that it didn't necessarily come FROM me, but rather THROUGH me.

Does that make sense at all?

Scott S. Semester said...


It's good to see you back blogging again, Clif! I'd missed your reflections and writing!