Unstoppable Impulses

What goes through your mind when you see a misted up glass window in a car or in a bus? How about a misted up glass door in a shower?  Well I know what goes through my mind – there’s an unstoppable urge to place the edge of a fist, the side where the little finger is, on the glass, so that it looks like an infant’s foot sans toes, and then to add little dots around this “foot” so it looks like a baby placed a tiny foot there.  

Of course I always make two such feet.  Most people I know just make one and it’s too weird to imagine a baby hopping on one foot and too depressing to imagine just one leg.  

The days are getting shorter, darker and colder here in the western hemisphere and misty surfaces are abundant wherever hot and bothered, stressed breaths emerge from frowning faces of stressed commuters and workers and collide with cold surfaces.  

It was one such night tonight as our bus crept along Route 80, barely moving for several minutes.  Some people had given up on getting anywhere anytime soon and were snoring their blues away.  Others were getting a head start on tomorrow’s assignments as they plugged little numbers into little spreadsheet cells.  I was staring at my own reflection in the bus window, wondering when the glumness set in, if there was a clear demarcation, a point after which it all started going south.  When did the eyes take on this dull, glazed sheen, when did the lips acquire a seemingly permanent downward turn, when was the last time I was happy or moved or touched.  It is not as if such moments have ceased to exist, it’s just that they are hard to recollect when the blues set in and one’s reflection defines an unpleasant reality.  

The glumness was threatening an accelerated downward spiral when I caught sight of the man sitting across from me.  I see him everyday and I’ve never seen him smile.  He is always serious, always working on the bus until it’s time for him to get off.  One gets the impression that he has a super important job in some Fortune 500 company.  However when my eyes drifted in his direction tonight he wasn’t gazing down at his computer.  He was staring at the misted up bus window.  And then he raised his hand and I noticed the fist.  The next few moments went by in slow motion as I wondered, “No! Is HE really going to do what I think he’s going to do? It can’t be!” And then he did it.  His fist went up against the glass and created a little baby foot.  Then his index finger came out and dotted five little toes around the foot!  I was stunned.   I couldn’t believe this man had felt the unstoppable impulse to create the impression of a baby’s foot in the misted up glass of the bus window.  How uncharacteristic of him…or was it really?  I smiled.  The blues from just a few seconds ago all but forgotten.

I absently reached inside my purse, took out a large orange flavored Tootsie Roll lollipop, and popped it in my mouth.  My lips couldn’t possibly stay turned down as I was sucking on a lollipop.  The serious man caught my eye and smiled.  He knew I had seen him do the baby’s foot before.  I wondered if he was wondering if someone who looked as glum and blue as me while on the bus would be an orange Tootsie Roll type.  

Wonder if our unstoppable impulses really say more about us than anything else.

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