Margo Tatum lives over one street and down, on the part of the parkway that the regular traffic doesn't travel - the part that's used by pedestrians walking their dogs or their children, the runners running, the walkers walking, the not-serious-enough-to-dare-to-ride-in-the-real-road-bikers biking. Tonight, Margo was standing on the edge of this not-for-travelling-traffic road with her shiny red chair-walker and her wire-haired dachshund, wearing a black and red patterned tunic over silver capri pants with black old-lady shoes - you know what shoes I mean; the ones all little old ladies wear because their feet aren't what they used to be and at some point you have to choose comfort over style, even if that point is after 70.
I've not met Margo before tonight; our conversation was brief:
"Is your pup a boy or girl?" I inquired - I didn't know to say he or she.
"Yes, wire-haired," Margo replied.
"Ah." I nodded approvingly and smiled.
"I really wish I could get that cone off the roof of my porch." She pointed across the street, where, sure enough, an orange MSD traffic cone lay on its side on the roof of her covered porch. It looked to be right on the edge, easily reachable if one had a ladder tall enough to boost you up to the roofline.
"Do you have a ladder? I'll get it down for you." Sure. Why not? It's nearly dark, I don't know you, and I'm wearing a white skirt and no panties. And walking my dog. Sure, I'll climb up on a ladder positioned precariously in your flower beds. Sure.
"Yes, I have a ladder. It's about five foot tall. I'd do it myself, but I'm so old, you see..."
"No sweat, I'll take care of it for you. Where's that ladder?"
I did, too. Her five foot ladder was more like 3.5 foot, but whatever - with that and the rake, it took next to no time to fish the cone off the roof. I didn't even expose myself to anyone. When I returned the tools and was able to wedge shut her swollen wooden gate, she declared me an angel sent from Heaven.
See? This is why I do nice things for people. It's not to do the right thing or to help out my fellow man; it's because they say really nice things about me that make me feel awesome about myself.