The little guy and I were driving through town today, when something about the car next to ours caught my eye. There was some strange movement there, and because we were stopped at a red light, I could take a closer look. What I saw was a very large insect — a big praying mantis, I think — and it was ever so slowly, rather tentatively, crawling up the driver’s side window.
Of course I didn’t want to stare, because said driver was of the youngish male variety. Not scary but twenty-something and jaded-looking, a type who probably wouldn’t appreciate the ogling of some mom wearing a white “51 Ichiro” baseball cap.
I kept trying not to stare, all the while wondering whether the bug was inside the car or outside the car, whether it might be the guy’s pet and whether he was aware of this thing that was getting ever closer to his face.
Before the light turned green, my questions were answered.
Unease flickered across the cool guy’s face, as if his subconscious was alerting him: “Dude, something’s not quite right in the car.” Then his conscious kicked it into high gear, registering the insect, which it turned out was inside the car. The guy flinched away from the window, and his eyes flew open, taking in the insect. His face was suddenly animated and amused, and for whatever reason our eyes met. I laughed out loud and watched as he took stock of his situation, quickly pulling into a nearby gas station, apparently to sort things out.
It was such a great moment. Here this fellow and I had been driving along in our own disconnected worlds, separated by only eight feet and a couple of windows, and then this bug comes along and causes us, two strangers, to connect — the young man breaks out of his brooding to reveal a face that could have been that of a delighted toddler, I break out of my errand-running road-weariness to laugh — and we share a moment.