This morning, I was part of the huge crowd of suburban commuters streaming out of the east Madison Avenue exit of Union Station.
It’s a little chaotic when you step outside the station during morning rush hour. There’s not a ton of room. Often, there are several representatives from a random company strategically placed in your way, handing out free samples of something-or-other. Lately, there have been a couple people standing next to their own little book display near the outside entrance who want to tell you something about The Bible.
Some commuters want to cross Madison Avenue, some commuters want to walk east on Madison, some commuters want to walk west. I walked by a couple women, one of whom was waving to yet another woman, who waved back. The couple and the single woman were separated by a throng of people, but the single woman was making her way towards toward them.
Back to the couple of women. The non-waving woman (NW) said to her waving (W) companion, “Do you want me to wait for you?” It seemed like W knew the other woman, while NW probably didn’t, or at least didn’t know her as well as W did.
W replied, “Okay, you can do it.” This reply was uttered in a nice-but-lazy tone of voice.
The interaction between NW and W stuck in my head on my walk from the train to my building. I didn’t like what W said. Why did she say that? Why couldn’t she have simply said, “Yes, please.”?
NW had offered to wait. She said something nice and selfless. W basically gave her approval to NW’s action, but without acknowledging the gesture/niceness/sacrifice NW offered to make for her.
What was the nature of W and NW’s relationship? Was it unequal? Did NW often offer help or comfort to W, only to never have it acknowledged by W? Did W do this to everyone, or just NW?
Or, less likely, was NW usually the oblivious jerk of the relationship, never recognizing the friendship of W, and W was just being passive-aggressive about it this one time?
I don’t think I’ll ever know for sure.