Well Rewarded

I have a difficult time passing people and ignoring them.  Walking, hiking, biking, even driving my car.  I say “hi”, “hello”, I nod, I wave.  I smile and I wish people a good day.

Sometimes this leaves me feeling snubbed.  Ignored.  But mostly, well rewarded.

Twice today, while on a bike ride, I had interactions that were a little bit different than normal.

I passed one man who was out walking on the bike trail and said “good morning” to him as I smiled and nodded.  I have never, ever, been given such a hateful look.  I actually sat up a little on my bike when I saw his eyes – they were so intensely angry.  And I was so surprised at what those eyes were emoting.

I only had about a mile to go before I turned around and was heading back in the other direction.  I kept wondering what in the world I could have said in my “good morning” that angered him so much.  Or what was he going through, that I interrupted, and he couldn’t remove himself from as I spoke to him.

I have to admit, I was a little saddened by whatever it was.  And I wished I could sometimes just go by without speaking or acknowledging everyone.

As I was heading back, the man was still walking.  I never avoid talking or acknowledging someone on purpose.  But I didn’t want to evoke anything else out of him.  I reached for my water bottle, which miraculously was stuck.  That never happens.  But suddenly it was jammed in too tightly and I couldn’t get the cage holding it to let go.  I was focusing on the road in front of me while trying to navigate the bottle out, which gave me an opportunity to not purposefully ignore him.  But I still saw him, peripherally.  He nearly stopped as I approached.  He kind of raised his hand.  He kind of smiled.  The bottle came out, I sat up a little and right as I pulled abreast of him he gave me a big smile and another wave.   I smiled and said ‘hello’ as I passed.

That felt better.

I rode another six miles or so.  And ahead, on the trail, I can see someone sitting.  A lot of people forget or ignore or don’t care that a bicycle trail is a moving roadway.  Whether someone is riding a bike, running, roller skating, skate boarding, or whatever they are doing to move, it is a moving space.  Often I come across bikers/runners/whoevers just standing in the middle of the trail.  Oblivious to the danger they put everyone in by just standing there.  I try to stay very vigilant and respectful.  Sometimes people may be stopped for emergency reasons (and most times they are not).

As I approached I saw the man appeared to be older.  Kind of dirty in appearance.  I ride with one ear bud in for music.  One ear with nothing, for safety.  I pulled the one ear bud out and slowed down in case I had to stop.  He looked up at me.  I said “are you okay?”   I was going very slow but had not stopped.  He waved me on and said “yes, I’m fine”.  He was sitting on the edge of the trail.  A creek was running below us.

Okay.  He did not seem in distress.  Maybe he was resting and enjoying the sounds of the creek.

I rode a few more miles, turned around, and headed back again.  The storm clouds were rolling in and I wanted to beat the storm.

As I approached the area where the man had been sitting, I saw he had not moved, but he was looking around.  As I approached he looked at me and I smiled.  He said something as I rode past but I wasn’t sure what it was.  So I stopped my bike, turned around and walked back to him.  He said “ma’am”.  I said “yes, I’m sorry I didn’t hear you”.

He said “do you have a few dollars so I can get something to eat”.  I knew I didn’t have a “few dollars” because I had shoved a five dollar bill in my bike bag when I left because I don’t like to be without a little cash when on my bike.

I said “well, I don’t have a few dollars. All I have is five dollars”.  I opened my bag to pull it out, and out came two five dollar bills.  Which surprised me because I knew I had only put one in there.   I said “well, I have two five dollar bills.  I’ll give you one and I’ll keep one just in case.”.  I pulled the money out to hand it to him and said “what’s your name?”   He said “I’m Dave”.  I said “I’m Colleen, I hope this helps.”   He said he hoped to eat before it rained.  I told him I hoped to get home before it rained.  He thanked me.  I wished him a good day.

I got home before it stormed.