I’m walking on Madison towards home. Up ahead is an elderly woman with a large L.L. Bean Boat and Tote bag.
I watch as she stops every few steps to rest.
I sidle up alongside.
“That looks heavy. I seem to be going your way, so may I help? We can carry it together.”
She sizes me up making sure I’m not about to rob her before saying, “No, I’m alright thank you,” looking at her watch.
The seer that I am says, “Are you going to the Express Bus stop, by any chance?”
“Yes, as a matter a fact I am,” she says, “and I’ll probably miss the 4 o’clock and have to wait for the 5.”
“Not if you let me help you, you won’t.”
After mulling this over she says, “Well, okay.”
We each take a strap, and boy, even with two of us, it’s heavy.
“What do you have in here, if you don’t mind me asking?”
“Oh,” says the shiksa.
We get to the bus that’s just pulling up, and she says, “I’m fine from here.”
“Are you sure?” I ask, “because I can help carry it onto the bus.”
There’s a middle-aged Latino man smoking, with a Spider-Man lunch box also waiting, listening to our exchange.
He says, “Don’t worry, I got it from here.”
We both smile, but the best part?
So did the woman who with little resistance, let him, making you wonder if he really was Spider-Man.