Sunday, June 27, 2010

A Woman on the Roof of a Parking Garage

[This week's Haveil Havalim is here]

On Friday morning I flew to Ottawa, and from the Pearson Airport monorail I saw a single car occupying the top deck of a several-story parking garage. The car was in the far corner of the roof, and a woman stood beside it, right near the railing, writing something. It was a long way to the ground, the sun was shining, the car was alone on the rooftop, the woman was so intent on her writing… I wish I had been able to take a picture for you, but the moment was there and gone as the monorail moved along.

It was like a scene from a movie, either the beginning or the end.

Perhaps she was about to fly off to another country, and she was sending a Goodbye letter to her family, to a friend, to a boyfriend.

Maybe she was getting some last-minute work done before entering the hubbub of the airport.

Could be she just goes there because she likes the view, and she isn’t flying at all; the space is somewhat expensive, but it inspires her. Maybe she’s an artist, doing sketches for a painting.

Maybe she’s a poet or songwriter, and a thought just hit her, and she needed to catch the wave before it washed over her.

Possibly, she had just returned from a trip, and had a thought she wanted to jot down. Or maybe it was a harrowing flight, and she was writing a note to self: Make a Will!

Or, she could have been writing down her location so that she would remember where she had parked.

Or she was writing a note to drop off the edge of the building, to the ground below.
Or someone else was going to pick up the car, and she was leaving him/her a note.
Or she was planning to engage in some violent act in the airport, and she was leaving a message for investigators to find.

Many possibilities, of course, and my imagination is limited by my own experiences and identity. Could be something entirely different from my own dimension.

Funny. The exercise of pondering this was somewhat akin to one of the first steps in developing a dvar torah – looking at a source and contemplating what might lie behind it. Why did Bilam do that? Why did the Torah think it worthwhile to tell me about the dialogue between Balak and his messengers? What is that ox-tongue metaphor, anyway? And so on. [The difference between the dvar torah process and what happened Friday morning is in the steps toward answering those questions, but that's a topic for another time.]

And, of course, it reminded me of the novels I have not yet written…

A woman on the roof of a parking garage. Interesting.


  1. My first through in reading this was that she was going to jump off the roof and was writing her suicide note... tells you what kind of day I'm having, eh?

    I like your imaginings much better. :)

  2. Tzipporah-
    Thanks; hope things get better from here.