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.