So I rode my bike to work this morning...yeah, the kind you propel with your legs. Incidentally, there are a lot of hills in Charlottesville, VA. Imagine that: a town in the foothills of the Blue Ridge has lots of hills. Most wonderfully, the entrance to my work is also a large hill, so I finished my ride struggling to make it up the last hill, in the lowest gear, feet flying as I pedaled with all my might as the bike went absolutely nowhere. I was actually going so slow that I was having a hard time keeping the bike steady, and all the while the parade of my co-workers passed by and, at least in my head, laughed at the moron who couldn't get up the hill.
But I digress.
This post is more about what happened after the bike ride than the ride itself. I went into the locker room at work to shower and change, and was minding my own business getting my shower stuff together when a couple of other guys walked in. Having just had my confidence utterly destroyed by the last hill on the way in, I was just hoping to blend into the walls, get my stuff done, and move on.
No such luck.
See, one of the guys who came in was a super-fit type of guy who the good Lord had unfairly blessed with incredible genes. (I'm not bitter, I swear.) The other guy was not. While not morbidly obese, he was certainly not the picture of health, but heck, neither am I, and at least we were trying to make ourselves better, right?
Not good enough for super-fit guy, who turns to the larger gentleman he had walked in with and says, "Hey tubby, the cafeteria is upstairs."
You see, as both a recovering bully (I was a world champion d-bag for, well, most of my life) and someone who has pretty consistently fought ye olde battle of the bulge for the last decade or so (seriously people, I look at a head of lettuce and gain four pounds), I'm particularly sensitive to this type of behavior, so when stuff like this happens, well, sometimes I get a little crazy.
So as I saw the large gentleman's shoulders hunch down even lower as he went about his business, not even acknowledging the comment or making eye contact with super-fit guy, I felt the rage flush creeping up my chest and into my face (and it had to be visible, because I was in a towel at this point). Then it just kind of came out. I couldn't stop it:
"Well, you know, at least he's working on it. In six months, he'll be in much better shape, but unfortunately, you'll still be an asshole."
I know, I know, probably not the best way to handle it, but it all just happened so fast and hey, nobody's perfect, right? Right? I know, I blew it.
Anyway, I went back to my shower supplies while super-fit guy (who was obviously not used to being talked to this way) just kind of stood there stunned, and the large man, who was obviously already not having a great day, looked up from his gym bag for just a second, and I swear I saw the flicker of a smile in the corner of his mouth.
But here's the really cool part:
Super-fit guy walked up to the large guy and apologized...like genuinely, legitimately apologized. I watched out of the corner of my eye as they shook hands. The large man then walked around the corner to the shower, and I was getting ready to do the same when super-fit guy turned his attention to me.
I don't know why I was expecting it to go badly after I'd just heard him apologize...perhaps I'm just a pessimist in general...but I certainly wasn't expecting this:
"Thanks for that," he said.
"Blurmh...ergh...wtf...yeah...ok...you're welcome?" I replied, more than a little stunned.
Turns out super-fit guy had been working on being less of a turd lately. As we talked, me in a towel and he with no shirt on (seriously, it was a little awkward), I learned that he was a professing Christian who had been really convicted of late about how he treats other people. Also, he had been going through some stressful times at home and work (he was sure to let me know this wasn't an excuse), and had found himself lashing out more often. We kept talking, I told him some of my story, he seemed encouraged. I was about to pray for him when I bunch of dudes walked in, and I thought it might be a little weird if two shirtless dudes (one in a towel) were hugging or holding hands in a locker room. So I told him I'd pray for him, and he said thanks, and we went our separate ways.
Honestly, it was all a little jarring.
Now of course, I'm not necessarily advocating walking around calling people names, but hey, in this case, it ended up working out, so I guess we can't rule it out completely, eh? :)
Anyway, that's all I've got. No profound insights. Just wanted to tell both of you a cool story. You may now go back to your regularly-scheduled work day.