Sunday, January 18, 2009

That Old Black Magic

Since I've started taking WheelTrans to work on a regular schedule I get in quite early in the morning. I'm thankful of having a key to the office as now I'm often the first to arrive. I like mornings, I like quiet. I like the fact that I can catch up on phone messages and answer all my emails, long before 9 hits. As I know my energy is morning energy so I use it while I have it. My afternoons tend to be full of 'old man' energy and while it allows for delightful naps, it's not much good for decision making.

So, recently, I was in my office focussed solidly on the computer when I noticed movement out of the corner of my eye. The source of the distraction was a woman with a disability, bundled up in winter coats and gloves, wandering around waiting for someone. I've seen her almost every day at the office. Her father drops her off and she marches straight into the office and into her routines. She's not the smiley sort. She's not the chatty sort. But even so, I always greet her with a cheery 'good morning' and she greets me with a chilly level stare.

I'm no longer shallow enough to be put off by appearances. I know that social skills are difficult for some. I know that some other's rigourously follow other social rules, like, never talk to strangers. It's costs me nothing to give a morning greeting. It costs me less than nothing to be pleased with just a glance as acknowledgment.

So, focussed as I was, when I noticed her and did my usual greeting, I went back to what I was doing. Then suddenly I heard a voice, "I think I'll just sit here." I turned from my computer and saw that she had sat down at a chair in front of my desk and was smiling at me. In truth it looked more like 'baring the teeth' but I'm sure it was a smile. I glanced back at what I was doing and then pulled my attention firmly away from the computer. THIS is what I'm here for.

"That looks to be a fine place to sit," I said. And we were off. She talked. I hadn't heard more than a word or two from her over all the time I've known her. She talked about her family, she talked about her desire to travel, she talked about what she did around the home. She let me know that she knew about safety and told me that when she stayed home alone she never answered the door, and never picked up a ringing phone. She intended to stay safe." It was quite a conversation, but suddenly it was over. She looked down the hallway and saw someone, she got up without a glance back and left.

One of my co-workers stuck her head in my office and said, 'What magic did you work? I've never heard her talk before.'



Patience and persistance, maybe.


Heather said...

maybe she just looked into your eyes? :P
What a lovely gift to be able to see that all is not what it at first appears but not always easy to do.

Thanks Dave x

Anonymous said...

It was your had respected her boundaries, were friendly and she felt safe with you.

FridaWrites said...

Patience, yes. It's also clear she had observed your interactions with others--despite all her concerns about safety, she definitely knows she's safe talking with you.

abby said...

A great message to keep the door open, even when folks are just lingering on the doorstep. Thanks again.

Shan said...

This post made me laugh - the bit about baring the teeth, especially.

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