Don’t tell my mother.
She’d have apoplexy if she knew. When I take my dog Crowley for a walk, we usually take a route which crosses a six-lane road. On our morning walks, it’s quiet, with mainly UPS trucks (which for some reason Crowley loathes), service vehicles, and the odd personal car or truck.
But in the evening, it’s another story. Car after truck after car, all filled with tired people who just want to be home and take off their shoes and/or bras. The traffic is thick and fast. Normally, we don’t even attempt it between 4 and 6:30.
The other day, we got to the crosswalk at around 7:00, which is normally pretty quiet. But it was Friday night and it was really busy. Crowley and I stood there for what seemed like hours; every time the traffic one direction cleared cars would appear from the other direction.
It was hot and I was just about to abandon the plan and go home when a car did something that in almost three years of our treks, has only happened three or four times—it stopped for us. Not only did he stop for us; there were three cars behind him. So, all those guys had to stop as well.
There were a couple of cars coming from the other direction, so I still had to wait to cross. But that first guy held his ground and waited too.
While we waited, I did the little “Thank you” pantomime dance with the nod, the wave, and the mouthing of the wildly exaggerated “TTHHAANNKKK YYYOOOUU”. When we finally crossed, I waved and thanked again.
When he finally started forward, he yelled at me, “You’re welcome! And I like your dog!”.
Then the rest of the cars drove past. I was a little worried I might hear some rude language. But each of them honked and waved, as I hyper-thanked them all in turn.
If you get to be my age, and there aren’t a few worries rattling around in your head like b-b’s in a Pringles can, then you aren’t paying attention.
I worry about Petey and The Kid, about the health of my parents, about money and about politics. I also wonder when the authorities will show up and tell me it’s all been a huge mistake, they’ve realized I’m a horrible writer, and under penalty of the law nobody will ever print another word I write. And I’m not allowed to have a blog or even write a shopping list.
Walking usually lightens my mood, but winter walking is better because it’s cool, and we walk in the woods. Walking in five-thousand-degree heat isn’t quite as restorative.
But, it’s usually ok.
After I crossed the street, my mood was stratospheric. For a split second, I wondered why I was practically euphoric. Then I understood.
Five random strangers with unknown motivations and destinations, strangers whose faces nor cars I remember. Strangers that I could pass on the street multiple times and never recognize.
We five strangers, and one goofy dog—we had a moment. An authentic moment of the purest of goodwill. We’d all put aside whatever aggravations and calamities we’d been carrying and with no conversation, mutually decided to experience this tiny episode with nothing but pleasure.
When I think about that moment, I feel a little nugget of happiness. And I’d bet the first slice of my next birthday cake that our entire ephemeral brotherhood does as well.
Maya Angelou said, “Each one of us has the chance to be a rainbow in somebody’s cloud.”
And so, I strongly urge, and with the greatest of enthusiasm, be that rainbow, y’all.
Thanks for your time.
Contact debbie at firstname.lastname@example.org.