As soon as I finished my yoga class this morning, I hurried off to find a place my friend Leslie told me about last night–the Foot Spa. Supposedly, for about $25 you can get a 30-45 minute neck, upper back, and foot massage! Since I love massages, I couldn’t wait to try this out. Since I didn’t have either kids until 2p.m., the decision to go today seemed even better. And while I still did have a messy house, grading to do, planning to start, and some reading to finish, I knew I’d be back with a good two hours left to finish all these chores before the kids returned.
Except, I didn’t really know where it was. All Leslie told me was that it was behind a coffee shop on the other side of town. As I drove in that direction, I decided to first stop and get some coffee. Coffee plus a massage without the kids seemed like a small version of heaven to me.
When I walked up to the coffee shop, I noticed an older man who had also been in my yoga class. He stopped me and asked, “didn’t you just take a yoga class?”
And just like that I never made it to the foot spa. Instead, I spent an hour and a half talking to this man. And it was so weird, but weird in a good sense. Weird that all of a sudden I knew his life story and he knew mine. I found out that he is 61, a physician in town, never married though he lives with a woman, never had kids, and writes novels in his spare time. And he now knows everything about me: my parents’ divorce, my step-dad’s position in my life, the death of my biological father earlier in the year, Maddie’s dad, Luke’s dad, my profession, and the list could continue.
The thing is, I’m a very open person. I really don’t have much to hide. But I’m not that open. I don’t ever recall having a conversation that open and honest with someone I just met before. And perhaps it was the physician side of him. The side that wants to know a person’s family history. Or maybe he was just generally curious. But he asked some really personal questions, and never once did it come off a rude or intrusive. It just felt, well, almost normal. Like I’d known him my whole life.
As I left the coffee shop, knowing that I didn’t have the time anymore to go to the foot spa and get all my work done (and having put off my work for a few days, I really had to get down to business), I had this immense, authentic smile on my face. I really, really enjoyed talking to this man, and not in an I-think-he’s-hot kind of way (My GOD! He’s almost twice my age), but in a way I almost can’t describe. I want to say it was just nice, but it was more than that. It was like this great feeling of acceptance and non-judgement from someone who doesn’t know me. And the fact that he was willing to share his story as well made our playing field rather even.
I know it seems weird, but I’m really thankful for the conversation with this man and the kindness he showed me.