Monday, August 1, 2016

In Which People Like Me In Spite of Myself and For No Good Reason Whatsoever

I left the house wearing a 3 dollar hat, a company swag shirt and Adventure Pants.

  • The adventure pants, what can I say...just buy a pair in every color and thank Eddie Bauer for making your life easier. I have a lot of pairs, and twice as many of the capris. You, me, and capris, AmIRight ladies?
  • The swag shirt was a freebie, with a company logo. It is of "workout"  and/or "sleep" quality, if you know what I mean. If it's not in a drawer, it's busy getting sweaty or wrinkly, possibly painted on.
  • The $3 hat is also known as the best bargain on Hawaii Island. Do you know how many reminder emails I sent to my travel group about bringing, among many other things, a hat, to Hawaii? Do you know how much stuff I forgot to bring to Hawaii? Yeah. 

I was hoofing it down the road, and someone passed me. (Everybody passes me except guys in their first week of cardiac rehab, and young lovers holding hands. Those people are slow as hell and bless them for making me look good.)

"Hey, Shell!"

My neighbor, out for a run. I can never remember her name, for some reason.


I cover with the generic. I'll remember her name as I'm drifting off to sleep, I'm sure.

A half mile later, I meet a dude wearing a Hawaii t-shirt. He points at the honu on my hat and says, "Hey, which island?" in an attempt to have a Fellow Tourist moment. We're moving in opposite directions, and the moment is gone before I comprehend that he is speaking to me. He gets a quick smile, instead.

Further on, up the trail, a guy zips past me and says "Let's go (company name)!" like he's acknowledging a football jersey and not the logo of a huge multi-national corporation on a sweaty t-shirt.

Huh. Wasn't expecting that.

Wasn't expecting any of that, come to think of it. People don't talk to me out there.  It's not the hat and sunglasses and dramatic Don't Talk To Me down-dressing, it's just...people don't talk to me out there.

Mostly, getting out to put some miles on is solitary business for me, and for a lot of other people. This is a large part of the value of it.

Head full of dynamite today? Go. Run. Walk. Hike. Do something not involving typing or tapping on anything. A couple hours later, I'm a human again and ready to rejoin society.

And by society I mostly mean Twitter.

It's not as if these excursions are devoid of other humans--mostly I stick to a well-used path full of every type of person you could imagine. I spend my time listening in on snippets of conversations as people and I move around each other. I overhear bad parenting, interesting investment advice, bloviating morons, funny dads, over-achiever moms, kids saying the darndest things, and some delicious gossip.

And the dog the lady who took her yellow lab off the leash and sent it diving into Lake Harriet while calling after it to "Be careful!"

Or does that count as bad parenting?

Hearing 40 seconds of someone's story as we sparks the imagination. You can really go anywhere with it--the truth is their burden, not yours. Maybe the truth is that yellow lab understands English perfectly, and he telepathically sent his owner a reply that he would, indeed, take care while swimming, and here I am, making fun of her because I don't know their story.  But...none of that matters, because I'm an opportunistic smart-ass, so I made a joke.  See how this works?


This has been my routine 4 times a week for the last two years. I have changed dramatically during that time but the schedule has not. "Eat vegetables and go outside." If it wasn't simple, I would have abandoned it long ago.

The cynic in me (about 92% of the total)  thinks this new attention has something to do with the fact that I am skinnier and happier-looking than I was 2 years ago.

Fine, if that's what it is. Another reason to be cynical.

(Don't worry, I was deeply cynical before I got fat, and while I was fat, too. I'm not suddenly embittered by people who assume fat folks have no value just because I had the personal experience of being fat--I have had those jack-asses on my radar for years.)

I've been the "Everyone knows who you are" and I've been the "Nobody knows who you are." I've been, "Everyone feels like they can talk to you" and I have also been, "Nobody wants to talk to you."

My ego is a huge fan of, "Everyone wants to talk to you."

Of course it is.

I think I'm finally achieving some balance: Public, but not, engaging, but not...? Acquiring a manageable cache of nice, cool people without inspiring the whackos who hide out in dumpsters to spy in you...? (Yeah...) Understanding I may be physically incapable of not trying to draw attention to myself in some way, I think I can maintain Neighborhood Person Others Seem To Like for a while. It's weird though. I was given a forum (read: live microphone) when I was 18 years old. Now, I'm 50 and I can't think of any 18 year olds I would turn on a radio to hear. The thing that made me valuable? I don't see the value in it.

I think this might be that thing I heard about called "Maturity." I'll have to do some research and get back to you on that...

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