7:30 AM. Still dark out. I was rushing around getting ready to go to work, when the doorbell rang.
It seldom does, and at that hour of the morning? Almost unheard of.
I opened the door. There was a girl, or young woman. Middle or late teens. I had never seen her before.
The term is flat affect; I looked it up. No expression. Monotone voice. Symptomatic of schizophrenia, depression, autism, or brain injury.
"I was wondering," she said, "if you could give me a ride to Ferndale." Ferndale is fifteen miles away.
"No," I said.
"Okay. Thanks." And she walked away.
I shut the door and immediately started second-guessing myself. What should I have done? What would I have done if I was more awake and not rushed?
Drive her to Ferndale? Not a chance.
Invite her in? I don't think so.
Ask her what was going on? (What was that lost soul doing, walking up or down my hilly suburban street in the dark on a chilly morning at, did I mention, 7:30?)
|"The Mask" by W. H. https://www.flickr.com/photos/wolfgangfoto/3206913459|
I realized, eventually, I should have offered to give her two bucks, which would have paid for a bus to Ferndale. Maybe that's what she was hinting at/hoping for. If she had asked for busfare I like to think that I would have shelled it out, even in my semi-sleepy condition.
But by then she was gone.
I read crime. I write crime. My brain cranked out a dozen plots to explain the event, some with her as victim, some as villain. I'll never know what really happened.
But I'll tell you this. I think we all wonder from time to time how we would react in an emergency. I seem to have gotten an answer, and it's not one I'm proud of. This is, after all, the season to err on the side of trusting people.
Maybe I could have been a little more up-to-the-occasion if I had been more awake. Maybe not.
But merry and happy to you and yours.