Yesterday I passed a pageant walker. This was on a nearby street during my morning jog.
Wearing workout clothes and gloves, he waved to me in solidarity as I passed in the opposite direction. He was walking down the center of the road, keeping a temperate pace as I briskly made my way down the sidewalk.
A thirty-something of petite stature with a relaxed and confident smile, his wave was slow and theatrical, not quick and to the point. It embodied stateliness and grandeur, as if he had been among other notables in the Macy’s Day Parade along 6th Avenue en route to Herald Square for some step and repeat to please the crowds.
He wore a white shirt — a rather loud adornment at such an early hour. The sun had not yet even risen.
I walk through my complex to start my jog several times a week. It’s still dark out, and I begin my run near the big tree across from the leasing office.
In the morning the sky is pretty because I can still see the stars, and I usually spot a constellation or two.
Today, the man was not yet outside smoking. I see him when I go by his home, on the corner where I turn to head down the block to the park. This morning his paper was still in his driveway.
The other day I saw him, having apparently returned from 7-Eleven across the street. He held his bag of groceries, and he flicked on a small flashlight and began reading headlines near his garage door while his paper was still in its wrapper, which I thought was peculiar. He was squinting and trying to make out the words through the plastic.
Most times the man nods when he sees me pass.
He is tall and older and wears a ball cap when he comes out to smoke. With that hat on and his demeanor and style of dress, he looks like he should live in the country and be on a John Deere.
The other morning, when it was chilly, he said, “Beautiful out.” I was running by with my hood on. “I wish it would stay like this,” I replied.
He then stared across the street at the horizon over the buildings, like he often does, as the sky reddened with dawn.
I had a sort of outdoorsy conversion experience a couple of months ago after a drunk driver plowed into my beloved Nissan Versa and splattered it like a pinata all over the road near my house, leaving it totaled.
My awakening, so to speak, didn’t stem from the fact that I had a near-death experience or anything of that sort. In fact, the collision occurred at around 3 a.m. when I was in my bed sleeping. No, my shift was driven by my subsequently becoming a pedestrian / bus commuter, and then, soon after, a bicyclist — by choice, meaning I opted against getting another car. Continue reading “My bicycle is my primary ride”