Two Stubborn Women

I’m volunteering at the bluegrass festival and for one of my night shifts on the traffic and safety crew, I am posted at a reserve parking lot. It has been pouring rain for hours. My job is to direct people to drive straight off the lot onto the street and avoid the main thoroughfare which is too muddy for anything but four-wheel drive vehicles to manuever in. If anyone is noticeably drunk, I can tell them to sleep it off in their cars. The lot is lit by two portable spotlight rigs each self-powered by gas generators. There are small moths and giant moths flying into the lights either getting toasted by the hot lights or pelted by rain. Below the lights, dozens of moths are flopping in the mud, sometimes getting the strength to fly up a couple feet only to boomerang themselves back into the mud.

A woman comes along. She is probably in her 50s and is wearing tennis shoes and summer pants that stop several inches above her ankles. I loudly tell her, “Hi! There’s grass over here and it’s a lot easier to walk on.” She has noticed the moths in the mud and bends down to pick one up and carries it over to the base of the spotlight. She lays it down and wipes her fingers next to the moth. She bends down and picks up another, again wiping her fingers. It is mesmerizing. Her shoes are completely covered in mud. The third moth proves to be too slippery or muddy to pick up for several seconds. I loudly say, “There are already hundreds of dead moths in the mud. It’s kind of futile.” She finally looks up at me and says, “They just look so helpless.”

I’m at a coffee joint killing time. I look over the shoulder of a woman in her 40s and see she’s working on some kind of policy paper with articles, roman numerals, and numbered lists. She is formatting a hanging indent on one of her lists by hitting the return key and inserting spaces at the beginning of the next line. I notice her style sheet is set to Heading 2. “Excuse me,” I say, “but you can format those a lot easier by clicking on the numbered list button in the style sheet thing there.” She turns and looks at me like I’m from Mars. “Oh, thanks, but that stuff is just too complicated for me.” She smiles and crinkles her eyes.

(More about the bluegrass fest soon!!)

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