I mailed a letter at the post office. To get to the post office, I had walked enough blocks to be surprised at how many elementary schools you can fit in a single neighborhood. I had marveled, too, how Dallas neighborhoods do not have a single character, are not separated by one side of the tracks or the other, but might hold empty lots and boarded up buildings and restored historic houses bright with new paint in any order, as if at random. It was hot, and I was glad I'd worn a hat.
I was thinking, perhaps, of what I would have for lunch, or else the words I had just sent on their way out of state; I was walking the long side of a schoolyard field when an already slow car slowed down to the speed of my stride. It was a long goldish car, low and smooth the way cars were made in the 70s. There were no children in the schoolyard. There were no other cars on the streets. There was one man in the car, and he asked if I would like a ride.
I wanted to tell him it was laughable, that strangers offering to take you into their cars was a thing one was warned about, not a thing that happened. I wanted to tell him people would get the wrong idea. But what I told him was No, thank you, and I wondered if I was wrong, if this was chivalry itself. I wondered, even as I waited to see which way he turned before I picked the opposite direction to continue on, if this was the southern hospitality I'd heard so much about.