I have lived in my house for 9 years. I bought it during The First Part of my life then re-bought it during The Second (and far more interesting) Part. It is mine. I share it these days. And I love everyone in it. There are an astonishing number of streets around my home with “Hill” in the title. This keeps my runs challenging and my quads silently screaming. I have quite a few neighbors of which I know precisely TWO of their names (Molly and Frieda, see picture above). Hey at least I admit it. Do YOU know ALL your neighbors? It is sad, but true. Pathetic even. It’s not for lack of trying. Sometimes “Hello’s!” fall on deaf ears. Everyone seems to run in their own their own world, myself included from time to time. It’s easy to do. Though not always Colby Sunshine, I am usually a smile and wave kind of runner. Often I get nothing in return. Zip. There they are, my miserable, crabby-ass, tired, stressed out zombie neighbors, dragging their sour pusses out for a run. That is, all but One…
One neighbor (née The Angry Walker) doesn’t run or ride. He walks. Clad in his trademark plaid shirt, scraggly white hair and work boots, this guy WALKS. Non-stop. No matter the weather, no matter the season. He walks everywhere, every day. I have seen him minimally twice a week, every week. Each time he is within earshot, I smile, wave and say hello. And what do I get? Silence and an angry scowl. Every damn time. After the 1,000th angry scowl, I became determined. I don’t care what it takes, I’m getting Angry Walker to talk to me.
I have never seen The Angry Walker at rest. The guy is in a perpetual state of motion. He walks with intention. Huge strides. Looks straight forward. He walks with purpose. Where is he going? Which house is his? How many pairs of work boots does this guy have? What’s his deal?! I spotted him in the produce aisle once. (He was carrying avocados and a Vidalia onion. Perhaps he likes guac?) I was so flabbergasted to encounter him indoors, I missed my opportunity to corner him by the grape tomatoes. He doesn’t exactly have a “Why hello neighbor! Fancy meeting you here!” look to him. Ever. It’s more like “This duffle bag slung over my shoulder is full of heads so come a little closer Doll” kinda look. Duffle bag full of heads or not, I’m on a mission.
Three days ago I ventured out on a crisp beautiful morning to go for a run. It was chilly. My legs felt good. I was not hung over. (Game on!) Off I went. After 4 miles I found myself on Another Damn Hill Street and behold! The Angry Walker! Now was my chance.
-Hey! Hi! Good morning! Super chilly out huh? It’s a brisk one! – I shout like an over-caffeinated chipmunk. (Oh I’m Super Colby Sunshine. All that was missing was a “Yoohoooooo!”)
I think i may have stunned him. Pulled that Angry Walker right out of his own head. He pauses for a split second, aware, and SMILES.
-There is nothing better than a brisk morning. It’s what morning is all about. Now you go and have a good one! You keep running! (Holy Angry Walker!)
After 9 silent years it turns out he’s just The Walker. He is my neighbor, The Walker. Mission accomplished.