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A Plea for Civility

Dear Elderly Woman From My Dream,

I can appreciate your frustration. There you were, undertaking a civic duty that was not even yours, trying in vain to remove a massive tree branch from the road so that people like me could pass through your neighborhood unimpeded. You were not expecting some guy to come shrieking around the corner on a bicycle, much like I was not expecting to have my path suddenly and fully obstructed by said tree branch. And let’s not forget the giant rat. Because that was what really startled me.

You have led a long and presumably productive life, and I’m sure you settled in this neighborhood with the expectation that you would not be asked to tolerate salty outbursts from frightened cyclists. I understand your position, and I respect it. But please try to understand mine.

I had friends in a nearby T.G.I.Friday’s parking lot waiting for me to gather all of my worldly possessions and return to them. We had plans to meet people for breakfast at a diner in Philadelphia, despite the fact that my friends are from Boston, and we had begun the day in Ottawa. Considering that your neighborhood appears to be in Chicago, you can see why I was in a hurry. Add to that the confusion over how my friends expected me to carry all my stuff on a bike instead of them just driving me, then throw a sudden impasse and a hulking rodent with glowing eyes into the mix, and you’ve got a pretty good recipe for a stentorian What the shit?

I’m sorry you had to hear it; I really am. All I’m asking is that next time, you just let it go. If tree-felling thunderstorms and rats that could fill out XL t-shirts are the norm in your neighborhood, surely a little cussing from a passerby is the least of your worries.

As for me, I still had hopes for this dream. It wasn’t too late for me to play a game of Scattergories with Dashiell Hammett or to stumble onto an alternate cure for tuberculosis while playing “Eight Days a Week” on a Bedazzled harpsichord. The last thing I wanted was to spend the remaining moments before my third snooze alarm arguing about something so trivial with you.

So, wherever you currently are in my subconscious, I hope we’re cool. And I hope you’ve gotten some help with that tree branch, because I can’t imagine what you expected to accomplish with that little broom.

Best wishes,
Rob Weychert

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