Thursday, October 29, 2009

This morning.

I met a charming 85-year old woman this morning whose biking path intersected my own trajectory home. She stopped pedaling, called to me, gestured just under her left rib, and said, "Excuse me, ma'am, but your heart—it's not over here, is it?"

I assured her that it was not.

She said, "That's good, because I have a terrible pain here, and I'm not ready to go yet." She did not seem in any pain; I suggested it was a cramp.

She went on, "I need three or four more years."

I said, "At least!"

She corrected me quickly: "No! No! Not at least! Just three or four. I have some things I need to get done. Three would be perfect; four might be too many. I have a dental bridge that's driving me nuts. No, no, four is too many. I considered making a deal with the devil, but he was unavailable. Too busy making people tell lies. Am I right? or does everyone tell lies nowadays? Lies, lies, lies. I put 1500 euros in the bank last year, and when I wanted to take it out this year, they made me pay them 5 euros to have it. That's a sort of lie, is it not? Can you believe it? Paying to have your own money!"

I told her she inspired me. It sounded a little lame, but I really meant it.

"Inspired? What does that mean?" I thought maybe I'd used the wrong word in Italian.

"No, no. It's the right word. I know what you mean, that I've given you the strength to go on, sort of. But don't let it be so. Listen, it's very simple. Just keep working. Works keep you alive, am I right? If you don't work, you sit on a bench and die. No, no. Work, work. Well, I must be off...just three more years, that's all I need..." and with that, this beautiful woman jumped on her bike and rode off.


  1. Bless her heart.

  2. Anonymous8:59 AM

    what a beautiful story