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Musings & Inspiration: The Garage Whistler

There was something unusually eerie about the sound of a melodic whistler echoing from the far reaching corners of the parking garage tonight. Many of the cars that were there early this morning had carried their owners away home to their families, partners, friends or pets for the night.

In the distance on another floor the sound of heels quickly walking to a car, door opens, engine starts up and they too are gone.

I continue to make my way to my car which now seems miles away, yet I know it's around the next corner. I always park on this floor as I can remember where I am at the end of a long day without putting much thought into it. After all, don't we all get into autopilot when we're desk jockeys? But this day was different. It's me, now more desperately trying to locate my car in a parking lot with a mysterious whistler lurking about. Who whistles? Serial killers, psychopaths, other crazed people up to no good, or maybe just a security guard, but I've already convinced myself this will not have a good ending.

Now firmly holding my keys as I don't see my car in the usual spot, I rush back to the safety of the elevator bank to try another floor where I sometimes park if I'm late and options are few. Frightfully aware of my surroundings now, I make my way to that alternate spot. My whole body is on full alert as the sound of the whistler seems closer and the part of the garage in in now is much more deserted. With heart pounding, I see a car and hurry toward it to discover the same make, model and color after hitting the unlock button several times to find that it's not mine! A little panic now running through me as I still hear the whistler for a few seconds before there is dead silence, then it starts up again.

Relieved for a moment, my ears trace the sound far enough away that I can make my way back to the elevator bank safely if I hurry. I take my shoes off as to not make noise when I walk across the concrete structure and at a hurried pace make my way to another floor to try again. On and off the whistling continues in the background.

On yet another floor now where I see a couple of cars that could be mine. I am so ready for this day to be over and get back to autopilot and make my way home just like a good little hamster. As I walk toward the car I'm hearing the whistler soft and closer than ever. I make my way around the corner and see the back of someone dressed in dark clothing right near my car, and hear whistling.

I soon find myself right behind this mysterious person, near my car, whistling, and wasn't afraid anymore after I saw that it was merely Olga the maintenance lady. I smiled and greeted her with a friendly hello and she met my eyes with a smile and nod as she continued whistling. Disarmed by relief, I asked her about the lovely tune she whistled (albeit eerie at a distance in a dark parking lot). She told me that it was an old Russian folk song her grandmother used to sing to her when she was a child. Before long, we were engaged in stories about snippets of our lives that we felt like sharing in this brief evening encounter as if we were long lost friends.

I learned a lot about myself tonight, and somebody new. Fear could have paralyzed me into a number of situations but I persevered, as any good hamster would when looking for a way out of the endless treadmill and the provisions of the comfy nest. Fear has its purpose, to alert us of dangerous situations so that we may act or react appropriately for survival.

However, fear can also be an unnecessary deterrent to many great endeavors. Don't talk to that person you don't know. Don't change careers, even if you're miserable. Don't quit your high paying job to follow your passion and become a teacher. Don't take that vacation of a lifetime because it costs too much. Don't fall in love, you may get hurt. Don't take any chances in life, it's way too scary!!! Or... you could just let go of all of your fears for a change, as sometimes the reward is far greater than the risk. Now go out there and enjoy life!

This story was inspired by somebody whistling a happy tune in the not so scary parking garage this evening as I made my way to my car, in the usual spot... like a good little hamster.


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