So I'm standing at the tailgate of my truck, a vehicle's width off the TransCanada highway, number
1, maybe 40 km west of Winnipeg. And this pickup truck pulls over ahead of me. It has a little
rotating light on top. It reverses, and pulls up beside me. I feel a little worried because they're partly
blocking the right lane. But I guess they've got the flashing lights to do it. Two highway workers look
out of the truck to check if I'm okay.
Now lots of people have stopped to make sure I wasn't broken down and I feel grateful for the care
and kindness behind the gesture. Usually. In Northern Ontario, this one worker got really snarly
when he saw I wasn't in trouble. There was a construction sign with an arrow ahead, indicating that
there was construction ahead, but I stopped ahead of that. "A construction site isn't the safest place
to play," he said. "That's true," I said. Then maybe he realized how patronizing he was being so he
tried, "I would just hate to see anybody get injured on the job." "I agree with you entirely," I replied.
And continued to paint.
In this very different moment, in Manitoba, the two workers (I should have gotten their names -
contact me if you're the gentleman this story is about and I'll add your name) just seemed genuinely
curious, and then carried on their way.
Then about 15 minutes later they come back. The one fellow asks if the paintings are going to be
up on line. I stop painting and get him my card for the website info. Then he holds up a fluorescent
orange visibility vest. "If I gave you this, would you wear it?" he asked.
Now if he had gone to school and studied how to get Nicole to take safety precautions she doesn't
think are entirely necessary he couldn't have done it better. I felt like it was a free offer, and a kind
one. "Do you really think it would be safer?" I asked, and he did, so I said thanks, I will wear it.
And I did. And I think more of the trucks moved over for me on the second painting on the 1, which
was nice, because the wind really pushes at me when they don't.
It also made me feel like part of the road work team. The vest feels like it gives me more official
presence, which I don't actually have, but it pleases me anyway. It makes me feel less lonely
I'm not just tickled pink by their kindness. I'm tickled fluorescent orange.