What you are looking at here is, apparently, a very scary person.
Here's what happened.
Since poor Tim has been rather home-bound with his Shingles (One of the things about it that the doctor told us was that he absolutely had to stay out of the sun. Florida=sunshine) In an act of solidarity, I was, for the most part, staying home with him. Watching movies together, reading, working puzzles, talking, playing games, etc. And I was getting a little itchy. Not from spending time with my beloved. Nope. Never. But from not being outside. I am accustomed to having a minimum of one three mile walk a day! Minimum! Usually more. So yesterday, finally, I gave in. I took a quick walk to the beach in the morning (above photo) while Tim was slaving away in his office.
It felt so good to be outside and on the beach! And bonus, I was the only person to be seen in either direction. Just birds to prevent me from being lonely and therefore, I was in good company. I took deep breaths, and relished that briney goodness. I wiggled my toes in the sand. I skipped a few rocks on the water and just stood there taking it all in. Then I took a few quick photos and hurried back. (photo from the morning walk)
But it felt so good to be out and about yesterday morning that after last night after dinner, with apologies to Tim who would have LIKED to come with me but knew he should not, I went again. It was a gorgeous sunset, and I stayed until the best part of it had faded and the sun had sunk, once again, into the sea. There were a few more people around, all of them doing the same as I, just quietly watching and enjoying and, at least for me, feeling at peace. (photo from yesterdays evening beach walk)
As it so happened, another woman, roughly my age (I'm terrible at guessing ages) left at the exact same time as I did, so we were literally walking side by side. She remarked on what a beautiful sunset it was. I agreed. She said that she probably had a thousand photos of sunsets, I said that each one was different. She agreed. And we both walked on. She a little ahead of me.
I expected, once we reached the sidewalk for her to turn, left or right. Most people do there. But instead she crossed the street and continued straight up Ormond. Well that is the way that I go too, so I also crossed the street and continued straight up Ormond maybe 10 feet behind her. As we reached the top of the street, she turned and saw me and gasped. Literally. She gasped and her hand came up to her mouth. I stopped and smiled.
"I live up that way", I explained and pointed in the direction of my house which is still about a half mile away. She turned left. Dang. That is the way I need to go too. She walked faster. I kept to my original pace which means I'm definitely falling behind. I was hoping that my being so much further behind her would be reassuring. But I guess it wasn't. About a half block up, she turned again, saw me and then pulled out her cellphone and kind of waggled it at me. "Honest", I said, "I'm not following you. I live up that way". And again I pointed. She turned again and, now nearly trotting, kept going. I could hear her panting as she hurried.
Ok. What can I do here to convince her that I am not "following her" but merely travelling in the same direction? I slowed down even more. I stopped and took photos of stupid things that I don't care about one bit. All out of consideration for someone else's panic attack. In the quiet of the evening and with the breeze coming toward me, I could hear her say, something about, "....some woman". I assume she was talking to someone on her phone. She was far enough away from me at that point she had gone around a curve and I actually couldn't see her at all. But I could hear her little footfalls. I stopped entirely and counted to twenty before walking again. By the time I came around the corner, she was gone.
Thank goodness! What a stressful walk. For us both. If she hadn't been so frightened of me, I wanted to tell her that I'm not scary. That's it's a small island and odds are good that you will always be walking in the same direction as someone. Especially in the evening as there are so many sunset watchers. I wanted to let her know that I am one of the "good guys"! That I meant her no harm. But clearly that was not going to happen.
I hope last night's experience doesn't stop her from walking to the beach to enjoy the sunsets. I know she will freak out if she sees me there again, but I have no intention of stopping my own sunset walks.
The question is, if I see her again, should I apologize? I mean, I know that I did nothing wrong. Not one darn thing. But it's obvious that I frightened her and that was certainly not my intention. Or would it be better to pretend that I didn't recognize her?
I am trying to see it from her perspective. If she is just a visitor to our island and doesn't know much about the area, it is all unfamiliar. And they always say that the scary bad people look just like regular ordinary people. You don't get much more ordinary looking than me! And walking in the evening as it's getting darker and darker and having someone you don't know behind you...? Yeah, I guess that could make a person a little anxious.
Whichever I end up doing, I will make certain that we do not leave the beach at the same time. I will give her at minimum one full block of buffer zone even if I have to just hang around the beach longer so she doesn't, once again, believe that my scary self is following her. Poor little thing.
And meanwhile, I have these photos that I took in an effort to convince her that I was just...walking...not following. And I mean, seriously, this picture? Not scary.
Yup, this is me. Some people said, "Sam, you should write a Blog". "Well, there's a thought", I thought to myself. And so here it is.