(I realize parts of what I am preparing to type may sound less than optimistic and positive. I write this and know it is a risk. By writing I hope to protect those who share their lives with anyone who is oblivious in any way…)
Finally, the rain decided to stop on our side of DFW. Since my days have been filled with dodging rain drops and attending track meets, my walking schedule has been nonexistent for the past couple of days. Today, the sun did a pretty good job convincing us it was breaking free of the clouds and dragging some blue along with it.
Unfortunately, it seemed like those I shared the sidewalk with were much more into their athletic pursuit then any social interaction that resulted:
As I was walking, I passed a guy from church. He has a nicely trimmed beard, so I knew I had seen him this morning at church. As I said, “Hey, I know where you go to church. I saw you there this morning–“My Churches Name Here!” He didn’t disagree or grunt or much of anything…he just kept moving. He may have turned his head and stumbled through his next couple of steps….
The “usual” rule when you are a bicyclist is to announce yourself as you are passing someone. A yell “on your left” or a “hug the side, Biff” is normally accepted. Two back to back riders made no effort to clue me in. The first one had horribly fat tires or some sort of odd “hitch” is his pedaling technique. I knew he was coming WAY before he got to me. No emotional or physical injuries resulted–just not feeling the love of a fellow “sidewalk bro”.
I was walking on the correct side of the road. (In Ohio and Texas and I believe everything in between, this is on the left side.) Ahead of me I saw a runner coming on my side BUT he was coming from the other direction. (See previous explanation about correct side to run on.) Since there were no cars coming, I let him have the left side (his right) to himself. I walked in the middle of the road to let him by. As he passed me, I looked over and smiled and nodded a “hello”. He did not look at me or in any way acknowledge me. I guess he might be a pedestrian from a country where they drive on the other side. So, what he was doing was natural to him…??
Three bicyclist passed me going the other direction. I should be grateful they formed a single line and did not dominate the entire sidewalk. But, again, their absolute refusal to grunt, groan or in any way recognize me as a human being rather than an obstacle to their sidewalk domination was a bother.
This objection is a little more subtle. As I was coming into the homestretch, I cross a couple of nice little bridges that span a mostly near stagnant creek. With the rain, the bridges have allowed their egos to be buoyed above the level of the average “creek spanning” structure. And, today the bridge served as a home to nearly 20 relatives. As they posed for their pictures and filled the bridge entirely from left to right, my problem emerged. Since the entire walk had been done in “stealth mode”, I had not created any noises to announce my arrival. (the photo session also likely had something to do with this.) I had done a bit of “dipping and diving” through their midst before they even realized I was a stranger in their family. Since we were in Texas, I had weapons trained on me before I cleared the “cousins” on the far side. I willingly gave up the billfolds I had pick-pocketed. We agreed both parties played the game fairly and walked away without further confrontation.
Remarkably, before I got back to the house, I passed a family with 3 kids and a dad. Their was a dog and a scooter in this party of “fun-lovers”. I tried to smile or make eye contact or something. They remained oblivious…
The Rest (The exceptions)
I did stumble across a couple of people who were not mute or wearing earplugs or blind…
- My friends from Aldi’s: We waved. Agreed we hadn’t seen each other in awhile. Agreed to bring a thermos of tea/coffee and biscuits when next we meet.
- At the tail end of the walk with my wife, we re-met the neighbors. (We originally met them 4 months ago, but being self-employed is not “best” when getting a loan approved to buy a new house.) We discussed what great neighbors we were and how lucky they were to live next to us….normal neighbor stuff.