Walk On Guy.

walkI like to sit at the very back of the bus, especially during the winter since the engine is back there and the back seat is warm. As I walked past the other passengers I made eye contact with a guy in a dark green coat and a black cap. Was that a flicker of recognition on his face? Did he wonder why I was boarding the bus here?

I walk a lot. It’s a little over half a mile from the bus stop to my house, plus there’s the walk to where I catch the bus. Some days I’ll walk more than a mile and a half from my office to the bus stop. There are nearer stops but unless I can see the bus coming I keep walking. And depending on personal whims I may walk with the traffic—taking me slightly closer to home—or I may walk against the traffic, taking me farther away from home but putting me closer to the oncoming bus. And even when I get to a bus stop and settle down to wait I won’t always sit down. Sometimes I’ll pace back and forth covering who knows how much ground before the bus finally arrives.

It’s just a weird habit. Out on the road I don’t feel like standing still. So I keep walking. The other day I passed a guy sitting at a bus stop. He had on an army jacket and jeans. A cascade of copper dreadlocks spilled from under his cap. He looked up at me as I went by. I wondered if he were waiting for a bus or just resting. Maybe he was out walking too. I continued on for about six blocks and finally hit a point where the stops are so far apart–the next one is on the other side of a long overpass–I was afraid the bus would zip by me before I could get to the stop, so I stood where I was. And then paced around where I was.

The bus arrived and I boarded and as I walked to the back I recognized the army jacket, black cap, and copper dreads. He looked up at me. Was there judgment in those eyes? Did he recognize me, and did he wonder if there was something about him that made me unwilling to share a bus stop with him? I felt so uncomfortable about it I almost said out loud, “It’s not you, it’s me.”

7 Comments

  1. M. Firpi

    All I can say is that I now walk with a dog, and this feels odd because I had only owned cats, and they don’t need walks. Dogs belong to a social order of mammals, which rarely hunt or roam alone. So here I am now with a highly social pet, when I’m the opposite. However, I got her on purpose, just to challenge this side of me. The problem is that when she sees another dog, she’ll bark her head off. So I feel as if she were guarding my solitude, when in fact, I may need to socialize more. This is all very ironic.

    Reply
    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      It’s incredibly ironic and by barking your dog may be encouraging you to socialize more. She may be asking you to let her get close to that other dog. I don’t know. There’s a couple in my neighborhood who I frequently see out walking their dog and their dog has really taken to me. Every time she sees me she barks and goes crazy until I get up close and pet her. Only then does she settle down.

      Reply
      1. M. Firpi

        I’m afraid her barking is the quarreling type, because when she has gotten closer to the other dogs, she actually does try to start a “little fight”, then I have to pull her back with the leash. I read this is typical Chihuahua behavior, but I’m not giving up. I’m thinking of taking her to a ‘doggie park’ which is enclosed and everyone lets their dogs loose. I think that by taking her there I will actually find out whether she is capable of accepting other dogs near her without being quarrelsome. Plus I will not be pulling her by the leash, so the OTHER dogs will teach her to behave.

        That’s great that other dogs are drawn to you like that. I know birds are drawn to me for sure. Ever since I was young I’ve had fledglings land on my lap or my shoulder, and they accept me readily.

        Reply
  2. Sandra

    I laughed, I only know you through your stories but that reply would have been so typical you…And now I feel slightly pudgier reading all the walking you do and I haven’t done anything remotely athletic in years…way to make me self conscious Christopher ☺

    Reply
    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      It will probably help you feel less pudgy if I come and stand next to you. All the walking I do isn’t taking the weight off as much as I’d like. But it’s good exercise.

      Reply
  3. Ann Koplow

    I walk a lot too, Chris, and I’m always happy when I stroll by here. I was going to say, “It’s not you, it’s me,” but that’s not true.

    Reply
    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      There’s a saying that we’re all responsible for our own happiness. If that’s true then it is you, but I hope I’ve made it easier for you to find that happiness.

      Reply

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