Rushing around after work trying to cram too much into too few hours (standard; will I ever learn?), I zipped into the parking lot of my local thrift shop in the hopes of finding a cheapo ironing board, following an acceptance of last month’s unresolvable tangle with the thing.
I pulled into my spot and hopped out to walk over and examine what sort of wares today had to offer. As I began browsing the furniture tent, a woman came up next to me and softly but accusingly said, “You almost hit me, you know.”
It’s true. Well no, not that I almost hit her — I very clearly saw her making space in her trunk as I pulled up next to her. It was more probably that I pulled in faster than necessary. Why must we always be in such a damned hurry?
As my face fell into what must have been sheepish apology, she smiled slyly, adding, “I’m only kidding. But people sometimes!” And launched into a commentary on how as an active jogger, she must remain hyper-vigilant AT ALL TIMES, lest some black SUV carelessly drift into her path — as did happen once. Luckily, she had the reflexive instinct to jump, quickly.
If the conversation had ended here, it would have been mostly unremarkable and I probably would have just gone back to my day. But she continued sharing and sharing, and not in any kind of obnoxious or socially unaware way — just, happy to chat. We both jog. She likes to shoot photos on her runs (she was at the thrift shop in part to search for an accommodating fanny pack that would allow a small camera). I have a sister who majored in photography. Her great uncle, as it turns out, was the international director of photography for none other than National Geographic, back in the 1930’s.
As we continued this totally random but wholly personal conversation, there was some point that she made which she followed with, “Yeah, because also I’m in recovery from alcoholism.”
And I just had a little moment of unexpectedly profound connection, right there in the back parking lot of a Goodwill. Not that it was profound that I met another alcoholic today, but just the very casual way in which we came to share that bit of our lives with one another. I may write this blog with unabashed candor, but I do not set out each morning and think, “HO! Now how many people’s faces can I shout into about my sobriety today?”
These sort of interactions will only find you if you allow yourself to be open to them. I could have shut down that social exchange and gone back into my own world…but look how much more rewarding taking the time for simple small talk turned out to be. Really looking forward to following up @ her email address and learning about her story.
In other news, the not-so-summer-yet evenings seem to be yielding my Sweet Spot with regard to running temperature, because I have been dominating pavement. Hit an all-time, personal best today. What I love about racing against myself is that the moment I reach a new time or speed, my immediate reaction is “OK but how can I beat it.”
Running and A.A. meetings find common ground when pushing through the initial reluctance or doubt:
go every day until you like it…and then go every day because you like it. You will. Or if you don’t, you’ll learn about what you do like in the process. #SeekingTruthThroughExperience