Last week, I found myself walking toward the front door of my local Starbucks at the same time as an eighty-something-year-old woman. We were approaching the door from different angles, but given that we were the only two persons headed toward the door, it probably appeared to a neutral observer that I was racing her.
Which I was.
You see, my big cartoonist brain told me at that moment that old people take exponentially longer to take money from their purse. Plus, they like to talk to the person behind the counter. Old people treat society as a place where humans should smile and interact. That’s a risk my brain and I were not prepared to take.
So I walked faster.
I’m not trying to brag when I say I beat her handily to the door. Which by Starbuckian law entitled me to not only go before her but even let the door shut gently behind me. (Once inside, I probably can’t pull on the door to prevent her from getting it open, but everything short of that is within bounds.)
And then I pulled a funny.
I held the door and let her go first.
I don’t want to analyze this one moment of kindness I’ve shown thus far in 2009, but suffice it to say, I think I just felt bad engaging in a foot-race with an eighty-year-old woman for the front door of Starbucks.
I bring all this up only to tell you that today, as I was pulling my car into the Starbucks lot, the same old woman was in her car pulling into the driveway at the same time. So I did the only thing I could do.
I gunned it.
I parked that car so fast that the tires squealed. I was out of my car and at the front door of the Starbucks before that old woman could even pull her keys from the ignition. No foot-race here. No ethical dilemmas here.
Just two people pulling their cars into the Starbucks lot at slightly different speeds.
I had done the right thing.