I was running to Sunday yoga class in Isham Park, getting in some exercise ahead of exercise, if you know what I mean. And when I'm motivated to this extent, I'm generally not of a mind to stop until I'm done. But the woman, a Latina who appealed to me in -- from my perspective -- unintelligible Spanish, desperately needed assistance. And I -- call it chivalry if you must -- felt compelled to assist.
She was trapped within a seemingly futile attempt to get her shopping cart over the curb and onto the sidewalk, a cart loaded with garbage bags stuffed near to brimmin' with returnable cans and bottles. You'd think, as a professional, she'd have long since mastered elementary curb hurdles, but perhaps she was not, in fact, a professional. Maybe she was merely a talented amateur. She did not, for example, have the grimy, encrusted look of many other deposit whores (a genderless class). And I didn't hesitate to reach below the front of her wagon and lift the low, bulging Hefty that had been weighing her enterprise down. It seemed - like the woman herself - somehow clean.
No! she quickly indicated. I was doing it wrong! And she proceeded -- most likely pushed to glory by my failure -- to do it right.
"At least I tried," I said.
"Thank you," she replied, this time in English.
Could be she'd, at first, not realized I was White (Non-Hispanic). Perhaps she'd now think kindly of us White (Non-Hispanic)s and spread the word that, though completely incompetent, one had tried (somewhat) manfully to help her.
I continued my run, almost immediately realizing that my failed attempt had likely stretched the plastic on the bottom of the foundation bag and, at that very moment, cans and bottles were probably tumbling in all directions down Fordham Road, the woman's panicked yelps now impossible to assuage. I have no doubt done the image of White (Non-Hispanic)s irreparable harm in the Latina mind.
I hope she didn't realize I was Jewish.