Friday night was a two stop evening.  First was a Unitarian happy hour at Bob and Barbara’s, followed by dinner and hanging out at Seth’s apartment.  Because of this, instead of walking down to the bar like I normally would have, I drove there, planning on leaving directly from there to go to Seth’s.  Driving down South Street, I passed a couple of parking spots, thinking I would be able to park closer.  Only, there were no spots closer and when I went back around the block, the spots that had been open a few minutes earlier were gone.

I ended up driving around, cursing my confidence that I’d be able to find a spot on South Street on a Friday night.  Fifteen minutes later, I found myself three blocks south, parking in an uncertain spot in front of gated and chained empty lot.

Climbing out of my car, I tilted my head up to look at the signs, trying to figure out if parking here for an hour was going to get me towed.  I noticed a man walking up the sidewalk towards me, and wondered briefly if I needed to be nervous.

Though he carried a cane, he was walking swiftly and was well bundled.  As he approached my car, he slowed and I shifted my weight to the leg further away from him, in case I needed to run.

“Coexist.  Now that’s a good word.  There’s not enough coexisting in our world these days.”  He said this to me in a strong voice that was threaded with old time Philly.

The back of my car is covered in bumper stickers that endorse either peace, a more loving attitude towards the world or liberal causes.  He was responding to the sticker on my car that looks like this:


I ended walking the length of a block with this man, talking about the importance of being kind to other people and being open to diverse viewpoints.  I felt so grateful to have encountered him.  It gave my search for parking, which had felt so frustrating while I was experiencing it, a new meaning and perspective.

One thought on “Coexist

  1. Julie

    Good story, Marisa. And very Philly. Since that’s relatively my neighborhood, I’m glad to hear you had a good experience, though I’d be leary parking there too! Of course, I was leary parking on my own street before I moved here and it’s been nothing but good.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *