Fridays (Friday Number One, August 18th, page 4 of 6)

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My doorbell rang shortly before six and there stood Mr. Anderson, in person, a nervous smile on his face.

"I thought I'd stop by and drive you," he said.

Again, excuses eluded me. "It's only three blocks," I answered.

"Yes, but you always bring a dish."

When you're as shy as I am, conversation, as natural as brushing your teeth to everyone else, is a monumental burden to me. All common sense flees away like autumn leaves in a hurricane. I become very irritated with myself but nothing seems to help. Thus stymied, I saw no alternative and found myself in climbing into Mr. Anderson's old Oldsmobile. Mrs. Forsythe peeked out the blinds from across the street as we pulled away from the curb. It was the longest three blocks either of us ever rode.

We had turned the corner of Hawthorne to Adams, riding in silence, when a pickup truck suddenly backed from a driveway, slamming into the side of a Buick two cars ahead of us. The vehicles spun around, blocking the entire street. The drivers jumped out of their vehicles, shouting and arguing vehemently. As we recovered from the shock, I found myself trapped in this stranger's company.

Mr. Anderson finally broke the silence. "I owe you an apology for dropping in on you like that."

"No, it was . . . thoughtful."

"No it wasn't. It was rude. I just wanted an opportunity to state my case in person." He smiled a kindly smile, amid the honking and shouting of the traffic snarl. He looked, not at me, but straight ahead as he spoke. It was almost as if he had rehearsed what he was about to say.

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