46 tagged with #interactions

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As I turn the corner, there's a cloud of dust and debris spilling out into the street from behind the parked truck. I heard it before I saw it, the backpack-mounted leaf blower that the landscaper was using to clean off the lawn. I approached slowly, not wanting to ride through it, and waited for him to notice me so I'd have a clear passage, but his back was to me and he was wearing ear protection.

He checked back over his shoulder before stepping into the street, saw me, and cut off the engine. I gave him a small salute and breezed on by.

I wonder why people don't just use brooms.

06 May 2014 11:58

Or is this just Fantasy

A pair of Apaches circle overhead in formation, passing so close I can hear the thwokthwokthwok of their four blades cutting through the clouds.

A woman is pushing a baby stroller awkwardly through the door of the post office, a stack of packages balanced on top of it. She makes it through before I get close enough to grab the door for her, and she stops to hold it open for me. I smile and thank her.

The dog strains at its leash, tethered to the backseat of a badly-parked car, yelling through the open window with a look of absolute despair and worry. "Sit," I instruct it as I approach, and it does, snapping its mouth shut to face me. "Good dog. What a good dog." I offer it a gloved hand for inspection.

A stream of elderly people with senior center ID badges and a variety of mobility aids flow along the sidewalk. One of them is wishing everyone a wonderful day. In the middle of them is a young woman wearing a baby sling, and a blanket draped over the sling. The sling looked empty.

A block away, a man who does not acknowledge the existence of other people in his vicinity is pedaling his wheelchair backwards, up the middle of the busy business district street. Many people encourage him to come to the sidewalk; he only drifts closer to the center of the road. He doesn't look at me as I pass him.

The block next to my house is surrounded with orange cones, and at every corner of the intersection sits a truck with a crane dangling a claw full of rotting vegetation. All the storm drains are uncovered.

And when I wave to the landscapers cleaning up my neighbor's yard for the spring, one of them shows me a palm in response and hollers, "Rasta!"

02 May 2014 14:02


The sun was out when I finished tying my shoes, but by the time I had lost sight of the building, the first few drops of rain had already touched my skin. I thought I was imagining it at first, as the touch was so soft to be indistinguishable from hair brushing against my neck, a blink that came too fast. Slowly, the sky closed overhead once my feet started crunching on dirt and twigs, and I had resigned myself to getting drenched hours ago.

It wasn't until my turnaround point was in sight that the pouring rain paused, then shifted into pea-sized hail that pierced through the trees and pounded onto the path. I just folded my arms to put my exposed hands close to my body and pulled my bandanna over my ears; the dreads gathered to shield my head and neck. I ran through, me and the three other stubborn assholes on the trail, and pressed in and out of the wall of hail. So long as my heading was east, the tailwind kept the hail hitting my back, and not my face; when the path curved around and pointed west again, I ran with my hands over my eyes.

The sun was out again by the time I got back to my office. "It raining out there?" people asked me as I walked by, water and mud pooling out of my running shoes.

"Not anymore."

22 April 2014 19:27

The Sneak

As I approached the intersection, I saw the scruffy terrier tailing the woman and yapping as she crossed the street. Instead of crossing with her, it stayed in the bike lane, inscribing tight circles just short of cutting into traffic, and then I realized it did not belong to the woman.

It had the good sense to get out of the road and onto the sidewalk when I got close, but I already pulled over and crouched down to say hello. It was collared, but unleashed, and displeased with my attempt to present some formalities. I set aside my bike and started taking off my gear, knowing that lots of dogs don't know what to do with bicycles or helmets, but by then it was already streaking across a series of lawns.

It seems that at least every couple of months, I find a rogue unattended dog somewhere and end up corralling it until I'm convinced it's back in the hands of its people. The first time I encountered a pup on walkabout, I didn't catch up to it fast enough, and saw missing dog posters go up for that same dog later that day. I contacted the owners with a timestamp and heading, and they said it was consistent with the rest of their data points. They never did find that dog after it was spotted heading towards the woods way out of town, and I don't think I've yet forgiven myself for giving up on that chase.

The terrier I followed slipped through a doggy door on some front porch and resumed loudly protesting my existence from their living room window. I concluded that this was a dog that occasionally failed to resist the urge to take off and chase strangers down the block, but knew about going home eventually, so I went back on my way.

It wasn't until much later that it occurred to me that stray dogs might be savvy enough to know about doggy doors, and I have no proof that this dog ended up in its own house; that's someone else's problem now.

15 April 2014 22:50


The night air is chilly, but I refuse to call it cold, as if by assertion I can force the weather to remain firmly in the territory of a mild early spring. It gently nudges through my fleece pants; I couldn't be assed to change back into clothing appropriate for public appearance. Overhead, the moon watches as it always does, without comment.

"Are you not in your house?" my mother asks me through the phone.

"No, I'm taking a walk to post some mail." The gas bill sits crumpled in the chest pocket of my jacket, an excuse for a chore so I could take the phone call outside of my house. I've already walked past the block with the sticker-covered blue box twice because I wasn't paying attention to where I was going.

"Oh, sure," is her only response before resuming her report of which of my cousins were dating, which had gotten married, and which just got dumped.

08 April 2014 22:33

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