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Thaw your judgement

| Thursday, February 6, 2014

My friend and I believed we could take the cold after leaving the warm, aesthetically-pleasing confines of DPAC in the hopes of catching the evasive trolley back to Saint Mary’s. We trudged through the snow to where the bus was scheduled to pass.

It had only been a few minutes in the negative temperatures before the enthrallment of the student film festival wore off. The blush on our faces remained, their rosiness caused solely because of the icicles forming in our nostrils. Too quickly, our conversation transitioned from interpretations of the various films to an argument about my friend’s typically foolproof obsession with getting everywhere early. Tonight the trolley was running on my schedule — late. For once, my untimeliness would have paid off.

We found cover in the in the overhang of an entrance to Mendoza. After staring into the seemingly warm building, inadvertently fogging up the windows, I pounded on the door for two minutes in the hope that we could situate ourselves in a spot ideal for catching the bus while preventing our toes from becoming stumpy popsicles. No answer.

The bickering continued, only stopping when a woman came to the door. She was cleaning inside, and looked at us with suspicious eyes. Hope welled up only to be crushed by the woman’s refusal to allow us in when we admitted we were not Notre Dame students. Rather than a verbal response, this denial manifested itself in a slow pulling of the door shut.

As the wind became increasingly bitter, we were warmed by a vision of ourselves as hoodlums. Both of us were bundled in black, hooded and scarved. We reveled at the idea of someone finding us threatening and judged all of humanity for turning us away in this kind of cold.

A few oments later the woman appeared again in the crack of the doorway.

“Would you like some hot chocolate or coffee?” she asked. We stood, silent and dumb. “I can’t let you in, but do you want some hot chocolate or coffee?” she repeated. After registering her compassionate request, we replied with an adamant and synchronized yes.
When she returned inside, presumably to bring us back some liquid heat source, my friend and I reveled. We had determined that the woman was quick to judge, and so, we were quick to judge her.

Our hearts were warmed, even if our ligaments were frozen. The trolley’s headlights came down the street, moving like the Polar Express. As we ran from our station in the overhung doorway to catch our much-anticipated ride home, the woman opened the door holding two coffees.

About Rebecca O'Neil

Senior news writer for Saint Mary's College and news editor for The Observer

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