Random Acts of Blanket

17 Apr


Because I live in a college town, I do, on occasion, encounter college students.

I may have recently walked past one who smelled great.  In a manly way.  In a manly, Giorgio Armani, Eau De Cartier  (with a hint of hot fudge) kind of way.

I think it was the hot fudge essence that caused me to stop walking and to gesture at him to remove his earbuds.

“You smell great!” I yelled.

I yelled because I live in a college town that also, on occasion, has lots of traffic noise.

And I yelled because, really, when was the last time someone yelled a compliment at you?  It’s the yelling that takes it over the top: yelling nice words at a stranger injects steroids into a random act of kindness with such force that even Lance Armstrong feels a momentary, inexplicable pang in his gut.

And if anyone knows about kindness, surely it’s Lance Armstrong.  Isn’t he the guy who referred to his former teammate’s wife as “crazy and a bitch- but not fat” while speaking with Oprah Winfrey?  Or maybe I’m thinking of that other guy, Wolf Blitzer, who once noted that Hurricane Katrina victims were “so poor, so black?”

So much random kindness, no wonder I’m confused.

So, yeah, I yelled to the college boy that he smelled good and he said “thank you” and then returned to listening to his complaint rock, alt rock, Kid Rock or whatever.

My walking partner, Raye, momentarily shocked into silence, rebounded with: “you do know that that poor kid has to buy new cologne as soon as he gets out of classes today?”

“What the heck you mean?” I replied.  (Because I never turn down the opportunity to quote from “Fargo.”)  “I yelled at him.  That’s how he knows that I really meant it.”

“Yes but,” (Raye is very nurturing and will rarely, flat-out say “no.”)  “Yes but,” she continued, “you’re an old lady to him.  And now on this otherwise fine morning, two old ladies walking aimlessly around town have just yelled at him about his manly groove.  That’s like having his mom use saliva to smooth down his hair- kinda gross and somewhat nasty.”

(Side note: we were not aimlessly walking around town.  While Raye is nurturing, kind, and all that- I believe she is prone to hyperbole.  We were walking around lamenting life choices and kicking rocks.  So there.  We were multitasking.)

As for the college student, I believe that he felt the wrath of my compliment down into the core of his being and wrapped himself in its kindness like a blanket.  A blanket that he never asked for.  Or wanted.  Or needed.

A blanket that he can neither regift nor return because the tags are missing and it smells like cologne.

Kindness stinks.

One Response to “Random Acts of Blanket”

  1. wanderingflatlander April 18, 2013 at 8:58 am #

    If I ( an old man) yelled that at a college girl it would be pretty creepy. Sex role reversal is a curious thing. I don’t think your walking partner is named Raye by the way. Speaking of Fargo I was recently in Brainard MA.which made me think of the great Buschemi.

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