Recently I was in my local library when my cell phone buzzed in my pocket.
(I say “buzzed” of course, because unlike other rude patrons, I know the cardinal rule of library patronage is to be quiet. Hear that Millennials? That you’re supposed to be quiet in libraries? Just a little piece of advice from a much more mature Xennial.
Of course you all know I’m making a joke from last week’s blog—the Millennials are quiet as church mice in libraries because they are glued to their smartphones and wear headphones. It’s the old men with bottomless coffee cups who won’t shut up!)
But I digress. My phone buzzes. Unlike a Millennial, I don’t respond with a text. Unlike the old men, I don’t loudly say, “Is that MY phone? Did you hear a phone? Wait a minute, wait a minute, I think it’s me.” Like a good Xennial, I take the call outside and answer it.
“Mel, WHERE ARE YOU?”
The woman on the other end sounds breathless. I start to panic. Obviously I am supposed to be somewhere right now. And that somewhere is not the Lee Child section of the public library. More urgently than where I should be, I have no idea who the woman on the other end of the phone is.
“Um, who is this?”
“LINDA!” the woman says.
This is absolutely no help. My mind is racing, jumping through my contact list. No name came up on my phone’s caller ID, only a number. I try to think of a way to bluff my way through this conversation, but ultimately I come up blank.
She tells me her last name, and that only furthers the confusion. She’s the mother of one of my oldest friends, someone I’ve known since high school. She always reads my blog and likes it on Facebook. I see her once in a blue moon when her daughter throws a cookout.
And yet I still have no idea why she is calling me and where I’m supposed to be.
“What can I do for you?” I finally say.
It is then that it hits her—I can hear it in her voice. She’s called the wrong Mel.
I’m so relieved I sit down on the steps of the library. Whatever is going on here, I’m pretty sure I’m off the hook.
It turns out it was her daughter’s—my friend’s sister—wedding day. Someone involved in the big day—the florist, or hairdresser, I can’t remember—was also named Mel. She pulled up the wrong name in her contact list and there we were.
I realized now her panic was pure excitement—it was the morning of her daughter’s wedding! We talked only for a few brief moments to fully sort out the mix-up. I offered my congratulations and looked forward to seeing the photographs on Facebook.
It was a little thing, but it made me happy for the rest of the day. We’re constantly reminded about all the bad things that are happening across the country—across the world—at every single moment. And we should know about all these things.
But it’s good to remember that all kinds of good things are happening too. People are falling in love, getting married, raising their babies, and going about the business of living their lives. In that moment my heart softened to all of humanity.
Even the loud old men in the library.