“Are you winning?” an old man paused to ask me.
I was sitting on a bench in Gateway Center during my lunch break, scrolling through my Twitter feed. I had just seen the Tweet in which Trump congratulates the Pittsburgh Penguins for winning the Stanley Cup and felt on edge. WE DON’T NEED YOUR CONGRATULATIONS! And now some random passerby was speaking to me. It was all too much at once.
Bracing myself for Stranger Danger, I looked up and saw the sweetest elder face peering down at me through Coke bottle lenses; like, if Spirit Halloween were to be in the market for an Adorable Grandpa mask, this guy would need to provide a mold of his dome.
“Well, are you?” he asked again.
One thing that’s for certain is that I am never not caught off guard by impromptu conversation. The synapses just don’t fire off as fast as they used to.
And so, there was an awkward delay as I struggled to understand what was happening. When I realized he must have thought I was playing a game on my phone, I went with it and, with mock sadness, said, “Nope, not yet.”
“Well, you will,” he punctuated with a shaky finger-jut in my direction. “Because you look like a winner!”
I laughed and thanked him, and as I watched his labored departure, I was overcome with an odd sense of calm. It was kind of just what I needed to hear, so thank you, Yinz-Elder, for taking a break in your turtle pace to wheeze some positivity into the face of a fellow human being. A nice reminder that in the wake of cruelty and hatred, kindness won’t be silenced.
We all need to be reminded of our winningness from time to time, and you know what? YOU’RE ALL WINNERS TO ME. GO GET ‘EM, TIGERS.
Or maybe that guy was senile and thought he was talking to a goldfish playing Old Maid with Yootha Joyce; I don’t give a fuck, I’ll take it.