44 tagged with #interactions

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reminders from the crossing guard

the street reeks of ginkgo berries, a warm mushy pungent paste that coats the fresh pavement, which is too hot in this mid-october week. i skid to a stop, panting gently in the shade.

"how are you?" she asks, peacefully standing in the rectangle formed by the power box blocking the afternoon sun.

"hot. too hot. i wish it were colder."

she let me sweat for a moment while the cars blew past us, then reminded me that the weather came from something i didn't understand. true enough, i thought. we have never understood the weather. "are you a christian?" she asks.


"well, sometimes i read the bible," she confesses. "and sometimes i'm out here, and i see the trees waving, and i say it's because they're thanking god for the day."

we cross the street together, looking up at the canopy of branches forming a shield for us against a hazy blue sky. it is mid-october, and they are not yet ready to drop their leaves. sweat pools under my watch strap. she tells me about how before i ran up to her, she was just standing there enjoying the nice breeze.

"and maybe sometimes we gotta think about how our negativity might impact the world around us," she tells me gently, while i take an extra moment to let my skin cool. "we can be grateful just to be here today."

she puts out her hand to me, and thanks me for taking the moment to listen. i shake her hand; it's dry and cool, and she does not grip firmly when she wishes me a good rest of my run.

08 October 2018 16:53


i worry that i get myopic. i thumb through dozens, hundreds, thousands of photographs that are evidence of a life i have lived, and worry about the spaces in between that i have forgotten because i chose not to excise a slice of it to fix in a flat, static object.

sometimes, the photographs dilute the experience. sometimes, they dilute the memory. sometimes, they dilute the sense of being.

but then i think about all of the unphotographed and wonder, how much more has been lost?


i sat on the concrete curb, a small ledge delineating sidewalk from front lawn of the special needs school. the road glowed a silvery overcast sunset tone, and i stared into the dark spaces of densely leafed trees covering lawns and wrought-iron fences on the other side. one of my hands held my phone, flicking a thumb idly while waiting for things to appear in my game.

a man walked up the sidewalk towards me, thick shoes splaying out to exaggerate his uneven stride. his hair was wild, and cigarette smoke trailed behind him. he did not make eye contact with me as he passed, and i found myself stuck between giving him the courtesy of privacy by not taking in his every movement with my gaze, or ignoring him completely by being too engrossed in my phone to acknowledge another human.

the grit of the concrete made my clothes seem conspicuously thin.

24 September 2018 21:32


'you got your samurai sword?' the old man asked me as he was coming out of the library, and i was going in. i looked at his floppy sun hat, the yoga mat rolled up under his arm.


'i love your topknot, that's what i mean!' he said, holding his hands over his head as if grabbing one of his own. my hands instinctively mimicked his, pushing my bun straighter on top of my head with a little bit of embarrassment.

'...thanks?' i think.

01 September 2018 20:35


the neighbor's kitchen window hangs mere feet from our bicycle shed door. at night, it is a lit rectangular portal into a tidy, dated room with sunny yellow wallpaper and a hanging calendar that always shows the proper month. during the days, when the sun can bounce just enough of its rays to reach the sill, toy potted plants dance to signal that their solar panels have been activated.

sometimes, i see the old lady who lives there, always in a comfortable gown, hunched with her head at a painful angle, shuffling towards the sink. her aides are never far, but they leave her the space to maintain her dignity.

sometimes, an aide comes out to sweep the walkway. once, i left the shed at the same time, and she jumped, yelped, and then said hello out of embarrassment.

i always wave to them; they look happy, and that makes me happy.

25 August 2018 21:36


"i just walked up to her and said, 'i wanna give you a biiig hug,' she looked so bad," the extremely friendly lady told me as we huddled under the sushi restaurant awning. water jumped the curb and lapped at our feet, shin-deep in the streets already. a stressed out mother was screaming at her screaming toddler.

"she was just having a rough day," i agreed. moments earlier, my awning-buddy chased someone off who was trying to call the police on the mother. "i saw it, too. the kid was okay, everyone was just stressed out. it happens."

in a moment, a car started backing in tentatively to the spot the mother vacated. "you've got room!" yelled my awning-buddy. "you've got room!"

she jumped into the street again, umbrella doing little to keep her dry, and enthusiastically waved the new car into its spot. "you know a place to get pizza around here that's not mercurio's?" she asked me once she returned.

"honestly, i don't get pizza this side of town often."

we exchanged names, at her prompting, shook hands, and then she strolled back into the deepening stream in the street towards a bar on the other side.

03 July 2018 23:33

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