In an unusual move, I left the apartment today.
That makes me sound agoraphobic. I’m not. I just need a reason to go somewhere, a purpose. I’m not an aimless wanderer—I’m a purposeful wanderer.
And so I wandered to the craft store and Starbucks. On my way back, loaded down with a big bag of yarn and a giant cup of coffee, I was pulling out my keys to enter my apartment building when I saw it. I had no idea what it was at first. I had a horrible moment where I thought it might be a dead animal. Eventually I got close enough to see it clearly. Lying on the ground, two feet from the door, was a lovely tan blouse on a hanger—not the cheap kind of hanger it comes with, but one of those nice fabric hangers that you buy separately. I knew this wasn’t a random lost blouse. This definitely belonged to someone, probably someone who was moving in.
I have moments, sometimes, when I debate the best course of action. I almost left it there. After all, someone would come looking for it, right? And it would be easiest for them to find it where it fell.
But it seemed so wrong to leave a nice blouse on the dirty concrete. As a woman and a lover of clothes, I just couldn’t do it.
I picked up the blouse, shook it off, and unlocked the door, searching for a place to hang it that would be noticeable to anyone searching for it. I almost hung it on some pipes near the stairs, but that seemed inappropriate. Would the owner think about looking for it at the front desk? But they might come back this way while I was taking it down there.
As I wandered, I was certain the person who owned the blouse would come flying down the stairs or out of the elevator, and I’d be caught with the blouse in my hand. We’d have that awkward moment where I struggled to explain I wasn’t stealing it while they eyed me with mistrust. Thankfully, that didn’t happen.
Eventually I decided to hang it on a handle above the bench across from the elevators. You can see it the moment you step out of the elevator. Part of me is dying to wander down to make sure the proper owner realized their loss and reclaimed the missing blouse.
I have moments like today a lot, where I wonder, What’s the proper protocol here? What response will provide the best outcome? Like when someone hands me their child. A few years ago, I probably would’ve done my best to stay out of it, to keep away, to let things unfold without my interference.
I’m getting bolder. I know I won’t always be able to guess the most favorable response. Which is a tad unnerving for a people-pleaser like me. But I’ve realized people usually don’t mind interference when you’re trying to help in a non-obnoxious way. I’m learning to recognize when I might be able to help. I’m learning to speak up instead of hiding.
Maybe I’m finding more than wayward blouses.