11/01/2008

Charlottesville Dancing


View Larger Map Amy had come to pick me up to take me to an appointment. We were in a hurry, as always, given that I always need to arrive at Place B as quickly as possible.

The sun was shining in Court Square, and the perfect light of autumn makes the bricks glow with a sense of civility. The sky was a perfect blue, a bracing wind was blowing, and our gold car was beginning to move towards our destination. We didn't have much time. Yet, I was somehow able to spare a minute in an impromptu dance that made my day.

Let's freeze time for a second to describe the scene.

As I had left my building to jump in to the car, I held the door for another man who was leaving another office. Amy was parked on the stubby end of East Jefferson Street. I hopped in the passenger seat. She backed up and turned to head west.

The intersection of Park Street and East Jefferson is an odd one (see map), as the road continues for another 30 feet or so before hitting my building. Every day I witness from my second floor window a delicate ballet as traffic dances through the square.

On this occasion, there's a car that's come south on down Park Street trying to turn right. We're trying to move forward, but we had been stationary, so the car trying to turn left onto Park Street from East Jefferson also wants to move, and there's no clear signage pointing the correct way to dance. The man who left my building is crossing Park Street so the man has stopped, and he seems somewhat irritated.

Amy and I are quickly communicating the best route to get to our destination, slowly tiring forward while we wait for our minor traffic snag to resolve itself. We are four or five single objects all trying to get to our own individual Place B.

I see a flash of white from the corner of my eye. The man who left my building with me has dropped the folder he was carrying, and papers are scurrying everywhere in the wind. I did not see the exact cause of the explosion, but I told Amy to stop the car in the middle of our vehicular ballet. I jumped out of the car and said I had to help the man get his work back.

Now I'm running around Court Square picking up this man's papers, which seem confidential, some sort of legal case or contract. Many of the papers are notarized, and it all seems pretty important. I'm running around my car, and I've noticed that both the driver of the car trying to turn left onto Park Street has also stopped and is running around as well. Some of the papers were trying to escape down 6th Street, but I managed to head them off. In doing so, I noticed a woman had jumped off her bike to assist in the rescue. We smiled at each other.

Even the man who had seemed grumpy a split second earlier was out of his car, and we were all dancing in Court Square, frantically trying to help this man get to his Place B with everything he was supposed to be taking there. Our dance was quick and it got the job done and then we all went our merry little way.

I love moments like that, sudden bursts of collective energy when we realize we're all pretty well connected.

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