Thursday, December 6, 2007

Tewksbury, MA

I saw Marilyn this morning at the entrance to a Home Depot in Tewksbury, MA this morning (12/6/07). Getting off I-495, I stopped at a light to wait to go in to the HD parking lot. I noticed a woman standing by the entrance with a satchel. She tentatively crossed the entranceway. It struck me as a little odd - as if she were not sure where to wait for a bus to pick her up, despite the fact that there is not a bus stop there. The fact that it was 15 degrees F out made it a little stranger that someone was hanging out there. I figured she might be waiting for a ride.

On my way out of the parking lot, I stopped at the light. The woman was back to the original side of the entranceway. She approached my car, and knocked on the passenger side window. She asked me which direction on the interstate she should go to get to Worcester (about 35 miles away). Right there, I figured we had a problem. Having met a number of people with perspectives of reality very different from my own, I immediately went on the defensive. I told her which direction she should go. I figured she was going to ask for a ride, and immediately knew I was going to say "no", although my first inclination with most people would be to say "yes". To my surprise, she didn't ask for the ride. She politely thanked me for my help and went back to the side of the entranceway. A moment later, she knocked on my window, and told me I had a nice smile and the nicest demeanor of anyone she had met that morning. I thanked her, and then the request for the ride came. When I informed her that I was going in the opposite direction, she asked if I could at least give her a ride a couple of exits down in the other direction. Meanwhile, I'm missing the green light, wondering how long I can be polite for. I told her I couldn't, as I had to get to work (which was true - for some strange reason, I was relieved I didn't have to lie). She thanked me and gave a pair of stapled sheets of paper. I figured it was a religious tract. She said "Motel 6" (which practically next door to the HD) and gave me the thumbs up with a big smile, and walked back to the side of the HD entrance. I glanced at the first line on the paper - it read "Kill the Collection Girl". I immediately sensed that she was not a religious pilgrim for any church I was familiar with. I think we all know what the rest of the tract was like.

Mental illness can be a terrible thing. Marilyn seems to have an upbeat personality, despite the fact that her writings suggest a very troubled person. I wonder what her quest is, how it started, and how she manages the financial aspects of her life. I wish her the best.