Mall Mystery Woman

Posted: May 14, 2012 in Uncategorized
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“Any genuine philosophy leads to action and from action back again to wonder, to the enduring fact of mystery.”~ Henry Miller

Last November, I would fall upon a mystery that still has not been solved. This blog post is the very long and detailed story and the follow-up.

From the time that the sledge hockey team was on the road for the very first time in the program’s history, having that opportunity to go somewhere else and play, we found ourselves in Houston. We played for many hours in just over 27 hours and did all of that and came home.

Being that the second day of playing would lead us to our first visit to Ice Skate USA, inside of a shopping mall.

We had time between games and so the team stayed in the mall and took the time to look around, walk through places, and get something to eat at the food court.

Then it began. The true mystery that has been keeping me in the dark for months now.

A woman caught my eye. She looked at me and smiled so sweetly and waved doing that finger rolling kind of wave. Then as she passed by, she mouthed the words “hi there!” and continued on. It hit me like a ton of brick dust.

Her bright smile, her long wavy red hair, and her constant desire to wave wiggling her finger tips whenever she saw me inside the mall completely had my senses going at the speed of light.

She was working there as a train conductor. A fun ride for the children up to a certain height and/or their parents. And a quick lap or two and back again. And that is why I saw her in all kinds of different places throughout this shopping mall. Each time and without fail, if she saw me… she smiled really big and waved in the same fashion. And it was several times, not just two or three.

Could be that she suddenly was interested? What is going on with that wave? Does she always wave like that to people?  Or was it a case of her just being friendly, polite, and warm?? What the heck was going on???

I sat there with my thoughts, knowing I still had about a half an hour to kill in the mall before leaving to go to my next hockey match. And then I said to myself, “Screw this! I’m going to go talk to her!!”.

I knew that my history of speaking to women was less than admirable and would never be considered to go down into the history books . That and being full of shyness. But in this case I felt that I had absolutely nothing to lose by going over and saying “hello”.

I figured that if it turned out to be a disaster that because of the fact that I was from out of town, that I most likely would never see her again. But I never considered what would happen if I did speak to her and things went over well. I mean after all, every time I saw her, she waved and smiled really big.

I went over to the side of the shopping mall where this train that she was driving would start and stop. A nice mural painted on the wall to give a feeling of a train depot from long ago, complete with boardwalk.

But the train was not there. She was on the move somewhere. But the mall was so big, and I was honestly tired from the hockey, so I didn’t go after her or try to hunt her down.

It would seem like an eternity as I played “Beat the clock before I have to leave”. And after what was even longer of an eternity, finally I heard the dinging of the bell and cry of the whistle and I was right in her path!!

So in order to avoid being ran over by something that was probably going less than 2 MPH, I backed off. But I was actually close enough to her that I could have extended my arm and touched her.

As she rolled by, she saw me again. I caught her in the middle of eating a snack, and she still waved at me in the same manner, even though her snack food was between her fingers and she smiled. Giggling to herself that I caught her with food in her mouth as she grinned as best possible.

I patiently waited for her to stop the train and begin the process of letting parents and children off the ride. And then I was going to make my move and at very least…  say hello.

It would not happen.

The ultimate definition of the “cock block” came into play when a teammate of mine poked me in the arm and started asking questions about what I was doing and when I was leaving the mall to go play our next match and with whom I was going with.

Mindless chatter and absolutely nothing too important for him to be asking about. Just general FYI stuff. But each and every second was counting and unfortunately ticking away.

I had to be a little rude to him by saying that I was about to “go talk to a girl” and I wanted to do it before we had to leave. Eventually he got the point and left me alone. But like I said, this would not happen for me.

When this woman left with another round of parents and children, I waved and she smiled and waved back. But I could no longer afford to wait for her to return.

Waving like an idiot and over-emphasizing it was all I could do. And even though the train was moving as slow as mud, there were too many people in the mall walking around that I couldn’t just roll up along side her and have a conversation as she moved around the building and doing all of it before I had to leave.

I was out of time.

So then, it was time for Operation: Hope That We Get Invited Back Again To Play Sledge Hockey At The Same Rink In The Future So I Could See Her Again.

It would happen, in March of this year. Well, the invitation to play again.

A few players from my team went to Houston to scrimmage, and formulate plans for our upcoming tournament. After it was all said and done, I bolted like lightning over to the “train depot”, only to find nobody working there.

A few minutes later, the train was in action, but it was not the same wavy redhead with the gorgeous smile. She wasn’t there. And our team returned home just as quickly as we had arrived. All in one day.

It would be six full months before I would return to Houston AND see her again, all in the same trip. And that was during the Paralympic Sport Experience that I wrote about in my previous blog.

Same ice rink, same mall…. an opportunity had come. But I didn’t have a lot of time for chit-chat. Again, tired from the hockey, hungry, thirsty, and everything else in between.

But I did it. I went over there and I just started to watch for the perfect moment to say something to her while she loaded and unloaded her passengers. I would soon learn that she had her job down to a near science.

Stop. Unload. Receive money for tickets. Load passengers. Hand out tickets. Go.

The best I did at that point was take a few pictures of her. Unfortunately I understand that from a person’s viewpoint, it does look a bit creepy because in one photograph her back was turned. To be brutally honest, she was looking in my direction and turned around at the last second before the camera took the photograph. My fingers can be so slow when it comes to photography. Or at least my reaction time stinks!!

But the flash went off and she definitely noticed it. She saw me there, camera in my hand and just giggled and smiled and waved yet again.

I wondered why in the world I was sitting there, so I approached her. Her routine was very quick as she moved people on and off. I didn’t think that I was going to get a lot of conversation in. Even though I was aware that yes… this IS her job!! And her loitering could get her fired. I didn’t want to do that.

I really did surprise myself that she was actually beginning to multi-task with me while working. From moment to moment, I would back off so she could deal with her customers. Then I would start talking again.

The end result was that I asked her if I could get another photograph of her, basically asking her permission. She agreed.

Then she went over to one of the children in the lead car and was playful with him. It was a pretty safe bet that this child might have been hers. But I noticed an older gentleman sitting next to him, and then another child.

I asked if that was her family and she said, “That is my son.” Then we took a picture together, capturing that glorious smile of hers.

I could feel the bullets flying overhead, narrowly missing my face as she never mentioned “that’s my husband/boyfriend/whatever”. I believe that if she would have admitted to being married or taken or whatever else have you, that I would have felt all of it to be in vain without thinking clearly at the possibility of the genesis of a new friendship. Even if I was still living far, far away.

I explained that I was in town for the hockey and I would be in and out of Houston for a while. (Both for sledge hockey and for SIX MINUTE CENTURY). And I mentioned that I just might be living there one day.

Then… and I don’t know why… and ONLY then did I introduce myself by first name only. She reciprocated with the same politeness and personal information. I shook her hand and gave her my card.

The nerves finally came to the surface as I began to shudder and fumble my own speech as I encouraged her to either send me an e-mail or find me on Facebook. Her reply was “Okay sure.” Then I watched as she stuffed my personal card down the front of her conductor’s overalls.

I repeated her name to make sure I heard her right and again she reciprocated the action. I’ve read online articles about what that means when women do that…. could it be true???

I bid her farewell. And she said, “Nice to meet you. Welcome to Houston”.

Then I left, sharing the tale of what just transpired to anyone that would frickin’ listen. Later on, I would end up going into the food court and joining my team for a little hanging out time and rest before we went to check into our hotel. 

I kept looking at my camera numerous times at the few photographs that I had taken and suddenly very eager to get back home. Plus I wouldn’t stop talking about the “success” I had and I could not believe how “easy” it was to have done what I did do.

When we finally left the mall for good, we passed by and I went over towards the “depot” but kept my distance again. Our eyes locked and I waved and she waved back. Then I just turned around and left, not knowing if her eyes were burning through the back of my head as I rolled away.

I think my teammates wanted to throw me out into the streets and have me wheel home because I wouldn’t shut up about it.

But the following morning meant more hockey, and I would have to wait before I came home to even see if she had e-mailed, called, or found me on Facebook.

So far to the point of the writing of this post… she has not.

I do realize that my 500 business cards that I ordered was meant expressly for the promotion of sledge hockey and possibly earn donations or even attract some people to join our team and enjoy the sport as much as the rest of the team enjoys it. But many times, I have also given those cards out to women that I found interesting.

Sad to say that the history of my card distribution has had zero results. So in a way, I could say that the odds are against me for this woman to contact me. Of course I met her at her job, and she does have a small child so life could be pretty busy for her. I can only keep optimistic and cross my fingers that she does contact me in some manner.

I can’t say for sure, nor would I want to say what will happen. Positivity is key. One simply never really knows.

The first layer of the onion mystery is gone now though. I know what her first name is, and I know that she has a son. Nothing more… the mystery continues and I intend to pursue until it is done.

 

 

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