As I was unlocking the city bike, hands filled with, as it so often happens to a woman, a handbag and this and that, and trying at the same time not to get all dirty on the bike stand, an unfamiliar elderly woman approached me, her hands laden with heavy grocery bags.
“I’m sure you have a mobile phone, young lady,” she said to me, undoubtedly to me. I looked around in awe, confused and wary, but it seemed only the usual daily routine was going on around me. No signs of a possible ambush by bothersome beggars or loiterers or whatever unpleasant characters there might be cohabiting within your average midsized town.
So, I replied nervously: “I do.” No point in lying.
“Can I ask you, then, to lend it to me for a quick call? It’s really urgent I make that call.”
Red light started flashing in my mind. “I’m certainly not going to give my phone into your hands …” Her eyes grew big with disappointment and her face suddenly turned sad and exhausted. Nevertheless, she kept explaining: “You see, I’m to visit Cecilia but I’m running late and she mentioned she had some errands to do later today and I’m afraid I might miss her and then this ride on the bus will be in vain and then yet another ride on the bus to get back home, all in vain, and I’d really like to see her today.”
“You can tell me her number and I’ll ring her for you,” I suggested after a milisecond or so.
She brightened up, smiled, relieved. She gave me the number of that Cecilia woman I was to call and introduced herself as Fanny.
Me: “Is this Cecilia?”
Cecilia: “Yes, speaking.”
“I have a friend of yours, Fanny, standing next to me.”
“Oh, is that so?”
“Well, yes, she’s asked me to tell you she’s been running late but she was on her way to you now. She wants you to wait for her.”
“Why, this is wonderful! Of course I’ll wait for her.”
“She’s taking the bus now.”
“Thank you very much, God bless you, thank you.”
Fanny thanked me as well and while I was putting my phone away she shifted from one foot to the other as if there was something else. And there was. Her head tilted as she said: “You didn’t actually think I was going to steal your phone, did you?” Now, I was surprised again. She continued: “Look at me, I’m old and rusty, you’d catch me in no time.”
“There’s all sorts around these days, one never knows …” I replied. “The crooks are just everywhere.”
“Well, you’re right there, you’re right.”
Off we went, each of us in her own direction, both probably submersed in own thoughts about this experience. I know I was. At least we conversed.
Doubt and caution are the building stones of our everyday.
It’s been another Monday, people.