Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Minding Someone Else's Presence

As a result of having lost his shoes, Frederick’s feet hurt him a great deal. He wants to sit down. This is only natural. There is no bench in sight, however, so Frederick must continue walking. Finally, after a number of quite painful steps, Frederick comes upon a bench. It is occupied. Frederick speaks:

“Would you mind if I sat down next to you.”

The woman seated on the bench looks over Frederick.

“Where are your shoes?”

“I’ve lost them, I’m afraid.”

“That was foolish of you.”

Frederick admits that it was foolish of him and then repeats his initial question.

The woman says that she would, in fact, mind. She says that she was taught never to trust a man without shoes, never to trust a man that asks to sit down on a bench next to you, and never to trust a man who is known to do foolish things. Frederick thinks about this for a moment. Then he says, “Yes, I suppose you’re right. I would mind me sitting next to me too.” And, not having much more to say to this woman, Frederick, on pained feet, sets off to find an unoccupied bench.

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