He was waiting for me as I came out of the elevator. He's the new superintendent of our building and he's been very nervous around me. I smiled at him as I backed my wheelchair off of the elevator. He said, 'I noticed on the elevator camera that you had a bit of difficulty with the timing of the doors. Would it be better for you if I set the doors to stay open a few seconds longer?' I looked at him in shock, 'You can do that?' He nodded that he could. 'That is so thoughtful, thank you so much, I'll be able to get on and off without so much anxiety now.' He grinned a big grin and said, 'I'll get it reset on Monday.'
I was waiting for Joe to pick up a wedding gift for friends at the Pottery Barn. Instead of waiting inside, I rolled outside so that I could watch the street traffic go by. I pulled my chair back and out of the way and watched. Two elderly men were walking down the street. One of them was slightly ahead and looking annoyed. The other one was also annoyed and you could hear it in his voice when he said, 'I'm just not always in a rush like you are. I've never been that important.' The other guy's face screwed up to say something mean, but he took a breath, stopped, smiled and said, 'You're right, I don't know why I'm rushing.' They walked on chatting.
He's been wary of me ever since he first saw me. I don't know where he lives, who he belongs to, or how he gets by, but I'm sure that he relies primarily on his wits and instincts to survive. He's got floppy ears, the kind that beg to be scratched. There's one scar over his right eye and another longish one along his jaw. This dog is a scrapper. I saw him for the first time over a year ago when we moved into this apartment. He likes to ramble along the north side of the street, I typically sit on the south side of the street. He noticed me, as much as he would have noticed anything different, the first time but has grown used to me being in his neighbourhood, on his route. Today, saw me coming home riding down the street rather than on the sidewalk. Even though we are in the center of the city, the streets around here are rather quiet. He ran along side me, watching me, from the sidewalk. I was surprised that he followed me right across the street and up the curb and into the driveway. I slowed and then stopped. He approached carefully and sniffed all around the base of the chair, sniffed at my feet. I could feel his breath on my toes and I kept them still. Then he looked at me and I saw the change in his eyes, he put his head underneath my hand. I petted him gently and he sat down and relaxed into the experience. We shared a few mintues together. Joe, who had taken the lane rather than the road because he keeps urging me, 'Don't wait for me, open that thing up' saw what was happening and slowed up. I decided to pet him until he wanted me to stop. I could tell by his fur that he wasn't petted often and I felt an incredible honour. When he was done he licked my hand and then was gone.
Compassion. Patience. Trust.
Those are the true transformers. Those are the things that it takes to change hearts, change minds, change lives. I'd spent a bunch of dollars to see a movie about robots who battle each other for domination of the earth and managed to forget that the heart is the greatest transformer of all.