I drove past strangers, a twentysomething couple, loading furniture into a U-Haul, so I, for reasons I don't understand, turned around, parked, and rushed to them.

"Oh, my God," I said. "I didn't know that you were leaving us."

They politely smiled and looked at each other with expressions that said, Who the hell is this guy?

"I haven't seen you two in so long," I said. "Where are you heading to?"

"Chicago," the man said.

"I got a job at the Field Museum," she said.

"Oh, wow, that's always been your dream job," I said, making a guess. "Congratulations."

I hugged her. She was one of those women, made strong by yoga and Pilates, who affectionately tried to hug-break your spine.

"And you," I, still holding the hug, said to the man. "Making the sacrifice for your sweetheart. That's very feminist of you."

"Well," he said, wondering if being called a feminist by a man too voraciously hugging his wife was an insult. "I got laid off from the restaurant anyway, and I'll have time to work on my music in Chicago."

"Music," I said. "That's who you are, dude."

I let go of the woman and hugged the man. His arms hung limply at his sides.

"I'm going to miss you guys," I said.

"Yeah, we'll miss you, too," she said, obeying the social contract.

"Damn, I'm late for work," I said. "I have to go. Keep in touch."

I walked backward, waving at them, as they looked at each other with confused and bemused expressions.

Later, at home, my wife asked me about my day, so I told her of my little adventure.

"Jesus Christ," she said. "Why'd you do that?"

I shrugged my shoulders.

"Who the hell are you?" she asked.

I laughed because I didn't know. recommended