Saturday, February 25, 2012

Windy Night

Rundown and without exercise for too many days, I was psyched after my Zappo's order arrived yesterday WITH new running shoes, which I haven't bought since running shoes were made differently. And you know what, the shoes feel exactly like butter. Plus, they sync up with my phone for all kinds of mandatory info. I had to exercise tonight, not that I figured out the phone part yet.

So what if it was 10:00 p.m. before I got away from my work and out of the apartment? I strapped on my awesome amazing shoes and headed for the coast. My walk-run route takes me past bars and restaurants, and on a weekend night, I tend to feel a little self-conscious in my sweats around the slick - and sometimes slimey - party people. But tonight, I was especially fast in my new shoes, so I wasn't too worried about it.

Anyway, I stopped on the cliffs at the coast to listen to the waves below. And, without warning, things got crazy windy. Like objects-flying-off-houses windy. It was dark and cold, and I was alone on a Friday night, and soon, I would be passing back by all the bar and restaurant patrons having fun like normal people on my way home to return to work. And really, there's a lot for me to be sad about. My life sucks!

I tried to retrain my focus on something more positive, but the wind was howling. I resorted to keeping my head down. A few blocks later, I noticed a tall shadowy figure walking in the opposite direction on the opposite side of the street, jabbering away at himself erratically. The thing about my town is there are usually not a lot of people on the street, but interactions can get intense. People get in your space.

I kept one eye on Crazy as I passed him from across the street then put my head back down; my eyes were watering from all the random stuff being blown around in the wind. Startled, I heard something, and turned around, expecting to see Crazy. Instead, it was a different man, a black man with a pleasant face wearing a backpack and beanie. I would guess he was about my age. He started walking right next to me on the sidewalk, his steps falling into rhythm with my steps. What did I tell you about people in my town getting in your space?

He asked me how my day had been. Tense and wanting him to step away at first, I responded with a sharp "Good!" but it sounded kind of German in my abruptness, like "Goot!" He commented on the wind and how it had been sunny and still all day. His voice was soothing, and he had a slow smile. As I listened to him talk, I relaxed, and we walked for several blocks. He told me the weather reminded him of Chicago, where he was from, then went on to describe in detail the icy wind that could blow you over in various scenarios. I wondered what his story was and where he was headed  alone on a Friday night with his backpack but didn't ask. There are always backpack roamers in my town, who arrive at the Greyhound station from all over the country, escaping their problems and gaining new ones. I wondered if he was a roamer. I told him I thought night wind was creepy, which silenced him for at least a block.

When it was time for me to turn down my street, I told him to have a nice night. He stopped and politely thanked me for the walk and conversation before continuing on his way.

I love me a kind stranger moment. Tonight, when I was feeling a little sad and scared during a windy night, someone walked with me and reminded me it could be worse. Nice.

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