I never saw his wife who waited in the running car at the bottom of the driveway. But apparently she had been inside the garage and inquired about the price of a newish green HBC point blanket. (It was 125.) She liked the used beige one for 40, but couldn’t handle the red stripe. It made her physically ill. A trauma in her childhood related to the color red. She left without buying the green blanket.
Now it was her husband standing before me–a somewhat tall, weathered, farmish-looking, holding the green HBC point blanket. It was the first inquiry about it in two years of garage sales.
“Will you take fifty?” He held out a bill.
He added, “My wife liked the other one. But it had red in it. So I said I’d go back and get the green one instead.”
And I said, unhesitatingly, “Sure”, automatically imagining why red had once traumatized her–a witnessed bloody death on the farm or highway? a severe personal injury? a red blanket held suffocatingly over her face?
Trust, empathy, pity, sympathy, imagination, fantasy–all wrapped up together. How one responds to the desires, needs, and fears of others, of complete strangers sometimes.
Ah, possibilities. The many ways to read, understand, and respond to both immediate unstructured experience as well as the requests of others.