Maybe it’s just having a writer’s mind, but I’m always looking around. Or maybe I’m just curious and bored. I like to notice things and watch people. Usually all of this is done without prejudice or care. Just little bits on information noted in some remote place in my brain. Sometimes easily forgotten and sometimes seared for a lifetime.
Lately I’m embarrassed to say that this habit has caused me to shake my head, or even worse, shake my fist.
People seem to be in a fog and not many are aware of the tiny details around them. It makes me crazy when I’m driving.
This past weekend was busy in Vancouver. More tourists than usual had come to watch the final FIFA soccer game. The city was alive!
My walks along the waterfront were spent dodging wandering folks with their eyes looking out at the water or up to the mountains.
I was more intent on the little things.
Way in the distance I spied a knapsack propped up against a retaining wall separating the walkers and cyclists. As I got closer I kept expecting someone to come and claim it. No one did. I walked and watched and waited. Still no one came and no one seemed to notice.
I almost walked by.
I stopped because I couldn’t ignore all the thoughts firing off in my head.
USA. Tourists. Athletic event. Knapsack. Boston. Bomb. Biden.
A City of Vancouver maintenance truck was driving towards the nearby parking lot. I ran over and flagged down the driver and quickly explained the situation. He said, “So what, and who’s Biden?” This was not helpful.
A few more steps away was the entrance to the Coal Harbour Community Centre. I walked in and explained what I had seen. The young man at the front desk jumped up and said, “I’ve got this.” as he came to investigate. I pointed towards the knapsack and headed on my way confident that someone in authority had taken over.
For the next ten minutes of my walk I listened for an explosion. All was quiet except for the chatty conversations of the people around me. My breathing calmed.
A policeman once told me it’s best to report something that looks suspicious because after the fact will be too late. He said they were good at deciding what is a threat and what is innocent. I have always heeded his advice.
Two days later I smiled as I watched Biden’s motorcade drive by. That crazy maintenance worker who didn’t even know the name of the Vice President of the United States. Amazing.
The Dalia Lama made a birthday request this week. He asked us all to watch everything and learn, but do it without anger or judgement. I need to heed his advice. Especially when I’m driving.