I ended up working all day, escaping only long enough to grab an early lunch before being picked up for a meeting an hour-and-a-half away. Ordinarily this wouldn't give me much blogging fodder, except fate decided to intervene along the way.
And everything began with Kurt Vonnegut's Slaughterhouse Five.
For some reason I woke up this morning wanting to re-read Slaughterhouse Five for the hundredth time... probably because I've been getting lots of "friend requests" from GoodReads, and books are on my brain. I already have a copy of the novel back home (doesn't everybody?), but wanted to read it on the flight home Sunday, so I made a mental note to pick up another copy at the Border's down the street.
When lunchtime came around, I headed out to the book shop, making a stop at Jimmy John's along the way (I don't particularly like their sandwiches, but they build them really fast, and I was in a hurry). Rushing through Border's, I find a copy of Slaughterhouse Five, then grab a copy of Nick Hornby's A Long Way Down (which I've been meaning to read, and noticed was on sale for $4.99 in hardcover!). After paying for my books, 25 minutes of the half-hour I gave myself for lunch have evaporated. I resist the urge to run back to the hotel, but start walking as fast as I can.
With my mind focused on what I have to get done this afternoon, I round the corner on to North Water Street... and get sprayed with... water. Not a lot of water, but enough that my arm is wet.
In a mild state of shock (and irony, this being Water Street), I turn to where the water originated and see a guy standing there with a water bottle and a smile on his face. He then screeches "WOOF! WOOF! BYE-BYE! BYE-BYE!" at me. Obviously the guy is mentally challenged, and suddenly I don't know what to do. Part of me wants to rip the bottle out of his hand and dump it on his head with the hope that he learns it's not polite to spray people, but I just stand there. Ultimately, I conclude that I have no idea what the etiquette would be for the situation, and start walking back to the hotel. No harm was done, my shirt will dry, and life will carry on.
Except I keep reliving the moment over and over again in my head.
And now I am really upset with myself for not having said anything.
But not for the reason you might think.
I am worried that this guy is going to spray somebody who won't care that he is mentally handicapped. Somebody who decides to beat the crap out of him. I thought I was being kind by ignoring what he had done, but now I am thinking that it might have been kinder to have said something.
It's decisions like this which define us, and I think today I failed myself.