Mom, Dad, you may not want to read this post as it’s going to be a little snarky, And I want to apologize to everyone in advance for possibly having taken something the wrong way (which I do all the time).
Someone commented to my sibling yesterday, “I saw your sister walking in the park this morning. I waved at her, but she didn’t see me. She really should be more aware of her surroundings.” Sister replied, “Well, you know she gets in a zone.” “Still...” (my implied death at the hands of strangers loomed thick as the humidity in the air). There was probably more said, but my sibling knows that although I pretend to not give a rat’s ass about what some folks say about me and my choices in life, I do still let some things bother me because…well, it’s just none of their damn business.
To give the benefit of the doubt to the person who made the comment I’d like to believe that perhaps he was just concerned that I wasn’t really paying attention to what was going on around me and that, in a fatherly way, he was worried that somehow I had only accidentally lived to the age of thirty-eight by pure luck, not by having paid attention to my surroundings while walking in a place other than behind the locked doors of my home (I get motion sickness when I power walk inside the house, too many tight circles).
Little did he know that I am hyper aware of what is going on around me at all times, but that I learned long ago to filter out and ignore the things that I feel will just annoy me to the point of bringing out the sociopath in me and drive me to throw my own feces at the thing which I found annoying. I knew exactly how many people were out in that park yesterday morning, and I knew exactly where they were at all times. I had already pegged the black-haired guy in the red shirt and black pants with the head set clipped to his shades as very fit in a Gold’s Gym sort of way, and if he was trouble, could’ve pummeled me to a greasy stain on the sidewalk. But I’m sure that I would’ve been able to tell the cops with my dying breath that the assailant drove a small, newer model champagne-colored truck, possibly a Dodge. I also knew that the older couple that showed up later was possibly walking for some kind of physical therapy; the man (tall, about 6’2” medium build, grey-haired, wearing white polo with pale blue shorts) moved very slowly and the woman (about 5’6” pretty, white hair in a sleek bobbed style, white shirt, blue & white stripped shorts) stayed very close by his side. And, on a number of occasions, I spoke to the older woman sporting a beautiful walking stick (looked like a shillelagh that could’ve beaten the Irish right out of me), she of grey hair, heavy-set build, approximately 5’3” and was out with her caramel-colored clipped Pomeranian (the Pom was wearing a red harness and red leash, the owner was wearing a t-shirt so large that I couldn’t tell what she was wearing on her bottom (she may not have been wearing anything at all). And although I had my Ipod on, I was listening to my 70’s easy drivin’ playlist, which consists of the dorkiest walking songs ever, songs like “The Night Chicago Died,” “Driver’s Seat,” “Breakdown Dead Ahead,” (songs I would normally only be caught dead listening to while roller skating-Doh!) and could easily hear individuals coming up behind me when they did.
So, to say that I need to be more aware of my surroundings is a presumptuous comment, although very kind in its origins. I will not get into a discussion with this person as to why or how I became so subtly aware (OCD) of my surroundings, because if I did, I’d have to enumerate all of the late night walks alone across Capital Hill in my inner-city Denver neighborhood because my former spouse and I only had one car, and the person who had to carry the most stuff got first dibs on the automobile (and he forever had tons of stuff to take to the University). I knew which side of the street was most frequently sprinkled with blood on a Sunday morning from some late-Saturday-night fist-fight between two Sid Vicious wannabes from Pennsylvania Avenue, or which stretch of shrubs was most likely to house some homeless person noisily snoring off their drunken night before (only to rouse themselves at sundown to head to the corner store for another bottle of MD, which is where they would try to hit me up for a dollar or two while I was headed to the same corner store to pick up an only slightly more high quality bottle of wine than theirs). I could tell about all the late night bus rides with my neighborhood drunks and homeless residents (because, even though they didn’t pay rent, they lived there too). Or, I could tell him about the time that our apartment was broken into and some of our best electronic equipment was stolen (along with some of my best cubic zirconia jewelry, which, after I had cried my eyes out over the loss of some very gaudy, yet highly sentimental pieces, I laughed until I thought I would piss my pants at how the joke was going to be on the thief when he tried to pawn that shit), and how from that point on I became obsessed with the number of locks on my door and became obsessed with flipping those locks three-times apiece before going to bed. And what was the best way for Jake and I to exit safely from a third-floor window in the case of an intruder…
So, I feel just fine about the level of awareness I have while walking in the park, although I realize that one can have a false sense of security. But I refuse to live like a victim. If it’s my time to be beaten by an old crippled lady in the park while walking, and then have my face eaten away by her Pomeranian, then it must be predestined for that to happen (I won’t get into my feelings on predestination either, cause I can vacillate on that crock o’ shit sometimes because I do feel that there is a Greater Plan for us, but I don’t feel that you can use that as an excuse for not taking control of your own destiny, but again, I will not live like a victim). And I’m sorry that I didn’t notice a vehicle slowing down at the parking lot of the park I was walking in yesterday and see someone waving at me, if in fact you did slow down and roll down your window to wave. You have to understand that there are lots of vehicles slowing down to take a look at anyone exercising in public (you’d think it wouldn’t be such a shock to see someone exercising, but perhaps it is). And if I was focused on looking at slowing cars instead of reaching my targeted heart rate, then I might as well stay at home and sit on the front porch.
I think I may have just reached my targeted heart rate while sitting right here writing this blog.
So thank you for waving to me, whoever you are.
Caveat to everyone: If you see me out mowing or walking, please wave, but don't expect a wave back. It’s not that I am unfriendly or inhospitable (although you won’t believe it now from this blog), it’s because I’m in the zone…and I don’t like being told what I should do.