The Old Lady In My Shadow


Vancouver has been going through a bit of a cold snap this week. As in cold enough that I’ve debated putting on actual shoes rather than wearing my usual flip flops. It’s so cold that I’m actually wearing extra layers, and mittens whenever I have to go outside. It’s not winter jacket weather, but I do need to wear a long sleeve shirt underneath my hoodie.

Or rather, it’s not winter weather for me. It’s cold out and the wind makes everything extra special chilly, but it’s still not winter weather for me.

However, for this little old lady I encountered today, it is winter weather. She was bundled up in a long pink jacket that looked more like a sleeping bag than a jacket. She had on a toque, a scarf was wrapped around her face, she was wearing huge mittens, and her hood was up and pulled tight around her face. She looked cold.

She was also standing weirdly close to me. So I stepped back to give her some space. She stepped forward as I moved back. Thinking she wanted to stand in the general area I was in, I stepped to the right. She stepped to the right with me. At this point I was kind of annoyed because I thought she was trying to push me out of the bus line like this, so I decided to give her more space and I stepped to my right again. She moved to the right with me.

It was then that I noticed that her scarf wasn’t fluttering in the wind. I also noticed that she was huddled up rather tightly. She looked cold. I looked down at her and shifted to the right again. She shifted with me. And in that moment I knew exactly what she was doing!

This sweet little old lady was using my body to block the wind!

I’m five feet and nine inches tall, I have fairly broad shoulders and I am by no means “small”. This little old lady was…well, she was a little old lady. The top of her head barely reached my shoulders and she just looked so small and cold that I stood still and let her use me as a wind blocker. And we stood like that for almost five whole minutes. Her, huddled in my proverbial shadow, and me, towering over this sweet old lady who was so cold that she used another human being to block the wind just so she could avoid a few more degrees of cold.

You have to give her props for her creativity. I also gave her props for being ready to move around with me just so she could keep using my body as her wind buffer.


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