In the hallway, having just met, but as if continuing a prior conversation.
“Sometimes, when you are sitting at a stop sign waiting for cross-traffic to subside before turning left, the cross-traffic is continuous, and seems as though it will never let up. Know what I mean?”
“Sure, everybody’s been there.”
“Well, ever since I started driving—over three decades now—whenever this happens to me, I have always had exactly the same thought. I mean, exactly the same, every time.”
“What’s the thought?”
“It goes like this: ‘Well, there are no cars sitting here at the stop sign with skeletons in them.’ I’m pretty sure I’ve even said it out loud to myself sometimes. It occurs to me when I’m riding with someone else when it happens, too.”
“It is a rather striking thought.”
“It’s downright odd, isn’t it? It strikes me that, besides it being a strange thought to have at all, it seems even more strange that it would be the thought that I have every time it happens.”
“I’m not sure it’s that strange. The only thing that’s strange about it, as far as I can see, is the skeleton. And even there, strange isn’t exactly the word. Maybe ‘uncanny’ would be better.”
“Hmm. That may be right. It must have something to do with death, wouldn’t you think?”
“Could be.” Stereotypical head-scratch. “Or maybe it has something to do with the idea of skeletons in one’s closet? That’s gotta be about more than just death.”
“True. And then there’s a skeleton key.”
“Or, maybe we’re too fixated on the skeleton. The skeleton is associated with waiting, right? Even if it does have to do with death and/or closets, maybe they also all have something to do specifically with waiting.”
Nod and parting.