It was a gorgeous spring day and I was headed for home when I got delayed at a particularly long traffic light. As I sat there, I noticed a cluster of men, all wearing professional business attire, waiting for the light to change.
They weren’t talking to each other; didn’t appear to be together. Just strangers waiting at the same light.
A car pulled to a stop in the lane right beside me, windows down. Music blaring.
And the song “Happy” by Pharrell Williams started to play.
Clap along if you feel like a room without a roof
Because I’m happy
Clap along if you feel like happiness is the truth
Because I’m happy
It’s been some years since that song first hit the charts, but even those of us who shouldn’t dance have a hard time not wiggling a bit to the beat. I guess it must have struck that cluster of suits the same way.
For a moment, I wondered if I wasn’t witnessing one of those choreographed flash mobs launching into what is supposed to appear to be an impromptu dance, but this was actually that — strangers impulsively dancing together at a traffic light.
It was fantastic.
When I was telling a friend about what I’d seen, it reminded her of something she had experienced once while living in the U.K.
She had gone to the bank and was standing “on queue,” a classy Britishism that meant she was standing in line.
The line was a long one, stretched most of the way to the door. Nearer to the front was a woman with a little girl, about four or five years old, who had been growing more and more antsy as the line crept along. First, the girl tried entertaining herself by spinning in circles. Her mother stopped her. Next, she tried a bit of running in place. Mom again intervened. A few minutes later, the girl broke free and began jumping up and down.
The exasperated mother tugged at her daughter and said, in a rather loud voice, “Do you see anyone else here who is jumping up and down?”
Without anyone saying a word or exchanging so much as a glance, she said nearly every single person in line began to jump up and down.
Which reminded me of a time last year when I went to the Pence Springs (W.Va.) flea market.
I had been talking with a vendor who had an adorable baby goat on her lap. It was curled there contentedly, watching shoppers, behaving far better than one might expect of a goat. Just as I was starting to walk away, I spotted a woman headed up our same row with a goat on a leash.
This goat was clearly accustomed to walking while leashed and had something of a confident swagger. Looked proud.
The wee baby goat spotted the big one and let out a loud bleat.
Which the leashed goat promptly answered.
What happened next was one of my favorite moments in life.
When that baby goat baa-ed once again, it sounded like about half the people at the flea market bleated back.