My hairdresser told me about her three year old granddaughter who liked to get really close to whoever she was talking to and stare right in their face. She was trying to teach her about ‘personal space’ when they were out in public. She told her “Now, Taylor, people you don’t know well, don’t want you to come real close, so give them their personal space.” A few days later she took her to the doctor’s office for a check-up, they sat on a bench in the waiting area. A few minutes later a man came in and sat down next to Taylor. She looked up at him and said “Oh please, personal space!”
So often we don’t want to share our bench. Last spring I took a walk down to the park. It was a work day so not a lot of people were around. I came upon a lovely bench shaded by a tree blooming bright red flowers. I sat for a long time and looked out at the water and thought about a lot of things. It was my bench. An older gentleman who lived across from the park walked his dog down to water’s edge and asked if I would mine if he sat for a few moments.
He told me how his wife had died years ago, how he was from Chicago, he had served twenty-five years in the Navy, had a son who didn’t visit much. I quietly listened. After a short while he said “Do you live nearby?” When I explained that I did he said “You were so kind to share your bench. Not many people want to listen to an old man go on. Next time you walk by wave hello.”
I think I will never think of a bench as ‘mine’ again…
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