One time today I went to the ladies' room at work, and a tall, rawboned woman stood at the lavatory cleaning herself. She looked homeless, and it was a bit of a shock for me to see her there, as the restrooms at work have coded door locks and are for employees and clients only. Uncomfortable, I scampered to a stall instead of greeting her cheerfully as I usually do when I see someone there.
"This is the women's, you know?" she said.
"Yes, I know," I replied from the stall. "That's why I'm here."
She passed by, grabbed her bags from the handicapped stall, and said, "If I see you in here again, I'm gonna get a summons on you." And she left.
It's not a big deal, but I felt a little uncomfortable, wondering what's going on with her. I was thinking about it on my way home when I saw my neighbor biking ahead of me. I sped up and caught her, and we chatted as we pedaled along. She asked me about my day, and I told her about this woman.
"Oh, I'm sorry, Seda," she said, sympathy in her voice.
I felt a little annoyed, mixed with gratitude for her support. "That's not the response I wanted," I thought, but I didn't really know what response I did want. Maybe I didn't want any. Maybe I just wanted to share.
We stopped in front of my house and chatted some more, until Kristin came out, late for her music lesson. I rushed in then, and didn't say much beyond the necessary kid-hand-off info-share until she sat for one last pee before leaving. Since she was immobilized, I told her about the woman, too.
It was perfect. I cracked up, too, and I knew that was the response I wanted!