A self-conscious disclaimer: I really hope this isn’t an insensitive post, and by telling this story, I am not passing judgment. Rather this incident sparked a curiosity/wonderment that has stayed with me all week.
So as I was in Old Navy this week for the 9th time, I saw an old co-woker of mine from my Eddie Bauer days. I immediately hid my face in an effort to avoid eye contact, as is my social M.O. mainly because I don’t remember names sometimes…often…almost always.
But walking out to my car I ran smack dab into this girl and inadvertently made eye contact. So then we both fumbled and got the names straight. Amidst the small talk, I noticed she was loading her two adorable small boys into a fairly new white Escalade (the one with gold trim, minus the Moroni antenna topper…).
I remembered that her husband had been a student, and two years ago (the last time I’d seen her) he had joined the National Guard to supplement their income. She was pregnant, and worked part-time at Eddie Bauer to help make ends meet. They must be doing well, I thought.
So I asked, “How is your husband doing?”
“Oh, he passed away.”
I was totally shocked. “I am so sorry. When?”
“About two years ago. He was training in Tooele and was involved in a truck roll-over accident.”
I must admit that I was first shocked and second sad to hear this, but that my THIRD reaction was “So you bought an Escalade?” I didn’t say this, of course…
But as the awkward conversation dwindled, all I could think of was the Escalade. She has two little boys, and a HUGE, expensive, conspicuously extravagant luxury SUV.
People express their grief in different ways. Not to say she wasn’t grieving. But an Escalade?
Later that day, after much personal reflection, I assured Todd that if he died suddenly I wouldn’t buy an Escalade.
“That’s nice of you,” he said. “But if you die I’m getting a Ducati.”