I had an.... interesting experience yesterday.
I was making a lunch delivery and entering a medical office building in Lakewood Ranch. Lakewood Ranch is a fake town in Bradenton/Sarasota. It's like a pre-fabricated, cookie cutter community that cut itself off from the rest of the area so they could make their own rules and keep out 'undesirables'. Little boxes on the hillside and all that... except we don't have hills in Florida. It's full of doctor's and lawyers and business executives. All the buildings look the same, and it's by regulation, not choice. They even tried to keep out a miniature golf course because it was "tacky" and would "lower the real estate value". The nerve! It's a lot like a town you'd see on a soap opera. Everyone is wealthy, and the whole town revolves around the hospital.
So anyway, I'm walking up to the front doors and there is a women in her late 40's/early 50's with a long purple hippie skirt and a tank top. Her hair is long, dark and very dry. She had well tanned skin... or maybe she was Italian... and bags under her eyes. She looked like an old gypsy fortune teller.
As I approached the door, our eyes connected and she walked towards me.
"I just found out," she began.
Just found out what? I thought. You just found out you have no money and can I spare a dollar? You just found out medical attention costs money and do I have any? You just found out if you tell me my fortune I may pay you for services rendered? I was ready for the scam. And whatever this lady was selling, I wasn't buying.
"I'm cancer free," she said, voice breaking.
"Wow," I exclaimed. I felt like an ass. "Congratulations. How'd you beat it?"
"No, no," she said. "They thought I had lymph note cancer, but they were wrong. I just found out!"
It'd be a little more impressive if you actually HAD cancer and beat it rather than just thinking you had it and finding out you were wrong, I thought.
"That's amazing. The best news you can get!"
"It's blessed day. I'm cancer free," she shouted.
Then it came. She moved in, reached over my cart full of food and wrapped her arms around me. A full on stranger hug. She held me close, and for a moment I realized it was a beautiful experience. We were two strangers, but we were also two people. Two humans. She was so excited and needed someone to share her news with. She chose me. I felt my eyes begin to water at this really amazing moment. And then I thought.... This woman is bat-shit crazy! Get her off of me!
I broke away from the hug. She repeated the story again. She seemed in disbelief. Although she could just be a hug-whore looking to turn a few tricks. Either way, I smiled, congratulated her again and pushed my cart inside. As I waited for the elevator, I began thinking again what a significant moment that was... two humans celebrating life. No pretenses. We had no age, no race, no gender. I felt really special.
"I'm cancer free!" the woman shouted again outside. I turned to look and saw her with a receiving line of hugs. She IS a hug-whore!
I took the back exit through the building. Nice moment, but there was no way I was letting her gypsy ass double dip!