This is all true.
This afternoon I wrote a letter and sealed it in an envelope with the words 'For You' on the front. It could have been partly inspired by a craze I heard of called ‘hugs on Mondays’ but not having the guts to wrap my arms around a stranger I’m yet to try that new craze; also it’s Friday so that would not have been appropriate today.
This was the wording of the letter, written in my own hand:
I decided to watch people today and of all the people I watched you were my favourite.
I promised myself that I would only give this letter to someone who looked like a good person and who made me smile, you have done that so thank you.
I hope receiving this little letter brings you a smile.
As I drove into my local town with the letter in the passenger seat I started to panic that the letter might not be appreciated the way I wanted it to be. What if the person I give it to just thinks me odd and doesn’t enter into the spirit of my afternoon adventure. It was going to be hard to find the right recipient for this treasure and so I made some rules:
Rule 1: As the letter states the person has to look like a good person and has to make me smile.
Rule 2: I mustn’t give the letter to a girl I am attracted to because then the sentiment could be reduced to a cheap chat up line.
Rule 3: No children. Even if there’s a kid having a great time and looking deserving, full grown men in the street giving out letters to children they’ve never met would result in further questioning in the very least.
As I stepped out of the car grinning with the joyous knowledge that I had nothing more important to do than use several hours for the sole purpose of confusing a stranger I spotted the first candidate for the letter. A man was laughing with his daughter and looked like a bloody good Dad, he was probably the sort that would like my letter but giving it to the first person I met would have spoiled my fun so I let him go, he seemed happy enough without my help anyway.
One hours parking – 70p, Two hours - £1.40. I didn’t have exactly seventy pence for an hours parking and even though I had no intention of staying more than an hour I put in one pound forty for two hours so that I wasn’t short changed.
Having seen the good Dad as soon as I’d got to town I thought my task would be pretty simple and someone would stand out as a nice person worthy of the honour I was going to bestow upon them. I felt almost powerful like I was the judge of a contest, that was until I remembered what the prize for winning was, a letter that was just as likely to scare the winner as it was to please them.
I took my seat on a bench that lots of people were walking past and I began to watch and judge. A smiling lady on a bike - a possibility but I can’t catch up with her; A Mum holding hands with her two sons – she has her hands full, I’d have to post the letter in her mouth. After her… no one. Idiot after weirdo (not the good kind) after gap toothed bonehead after grumpy witch. I spent fifty minutes without anyone who even looked remotely nice passing by. Don’t get me wrong I was having a lot of fun, there were some very attractive women and some interesting grunts coming from a tramp who was stroking a bike but I was beginning to think I’d have to hold on to my letter.
A change of position was necessary, I bought a hot dog with onions and ketchup and walked up the street, surely one of these people was going to be ‘the one’. What was I looking for, someone to nurse an injured pigeon or perhaps fall over and laugh about it instead of looking angry at the pavement. I didn’t know and what was worse I doubted my ability to actually give a letter to a stranger, it could make me an eccentric I thought and I bloody hate eccentrics, they wear shorts in the winter and smile when they’re miserable.
I had been in town for an hour and a half and other than being chuffed that I’d got my moneys worth out of the parking ticket I had achieved nothing. As a last resort I went to the library, library people are good people I thought; maybe I’ll strike it lucky. One of the librarians flashed me a smile, I think she was fishing for the letter it wasn’t a genuine smile, another looked dopey but approachable, no I wouldn’t just give this precious reward out for the sake of it, someone had to make me smile. I picked up a book entitled ‘Tantric Sex’ I’d always wandered what all that was about, what it did mean was that no one was getting the letter today. There was now a chance anyone in there could have seen me reading a book about sex and if you’re receiving a strange letter from a strange person you probably don’t want that strange person to be a pervert.
As I put the book down somewhat down hearted about not finding ‘the one’ I spotted an elderly lady fast asleep with a book open in her lap, she made me smile. Surely I wasn’t going to put the letter on her lap for her to wake up to, I don’t have the guts. I turned away then back again and then I did it, as carefully as possible I placed the letter in her book and bolted straight for the exit. My God it felt good, I floated all the way back to the car chuckling like a schoolgirl that had placed a whoopee cushion on their teacher’s chair.
I felt more alive than I have for ages, it was brilliant. I hope the old woman was sleeping and hadn’t suffered a stroke or something and I hope she enjoyed opening the letter. I like that I’ll never know whether she liked it or not. It makes the world seem a little bit bigger.
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