I was minding my own business, turning right out of a parking lot when I saw an elderly Chinese woman come running towards my car. She was waving her arms around and she looked frantic so I thought I had done something wrong. She indicated that she wanted me to roll down my window.
“Help me. Bayview? Chinese grocery store” is what I caught from her broken English. She pointed to the front passenger seat and said, “Room in here, yes.” Actually, the front seat was completely piled with bird feeder paraphernalia but before I could say anything, she had run to the other side of the car, opened the door and squished her body between the pole system and the finch feeder. She nodded and smiled.
“Go, please” and she pointed east towards Bayview Rd.
I had no idea what I had gotten myself into – this woman looked innocent enough but you never know. She was in her 70’s but she was spry and determined. Perhaps I’ve watched too much TV but I was half expecting to be held up, half expecting that I was being filmed because I was on some crazy stunt show. We drove east on Mulock and the woman stared at me during the entire ride.
When we got to Bayview, I wasn’t sure what to do next so I pulled into a parking lot and stopped the car. The woman began to cry as she looked at the stores in the little strip mall.
“No Chinese store? No Chinese store.”
She got out of the car and came around to my side. She opened the door and hugged me.
“Thank you” and she walked away.
I watched her looking up at all the store names and well, I just couldn’t leave her there alone. So, I put the car in reverse, drove back to her and told her to get in.
“I don’t know what you’re looking for but we will find it together.”
I was on a mission and nothing else seemed important at that moment.
The woman smiled, wiped the tears from her eyes with her sleeve and got back into the car.
We started driving south on Bayview and suddenly, the lady looked over to the row of stores to her right.
Her eyes were as wide as saucers as she spotted the red sign.
“Here it was, here it was! Chinese Food. Let me out.”
I had barely stopped the car and the woman jumped out. This time, she didn’t hug me. She didn’t even say goodbye.
I decided that I would wait in the parking lot for five minutes, just in case the woman came out…but she didn’t…so I left.
What an odd occurrence. There’s just nothing else to say about it.
“…Tell me, has anything odd happened to you recently?
What do you mean, odd?’
Unusual. Deviating from the customary. Something outside the usual parameters of normalcy. An occurrence of unprecedented weird.”