Essay: Change of Attitude

Mar 20, 2020

I am sitting in my car waiting for the light to change so I can turn right.  It’s a long light and I have a short fuse, feeling irritable and impatient.



On the other corner a woman is waiting to cross the street, a middle-aged woman in tight jeans and a leather jacket.  She brushes her hair back with a dramatic gesture that annoys me. Everything annoys me today. 

“Relax, Karen,” I say as the light finally changes.

But instead of turning, I have to wait for the woman to saunter toward me across the street, taking her time, taking my time.  The driver behind me honks and I consider a gesture of disrespect.   

Finally the woman in jeans is right in front of my car and as she brushes her hair out of her face, I see that she is crying.  I see that she is sobbing and suddenly my irritation vanishes.  The woman steps up onto the curb as I steer my car around the corner.  She is gone from view but her weeping face is all I can see.  

I wonder what is wrong and wish I could help and know I cannot.  But I will remember her, the way she walked toward me when the light changed—and I changed.