First of all, check out Mouse’s blahg for her latest African adventure. After you’re done with that, you can always return here for your daily dose of blather from Kayak Woman.

He was walking toward me up the pitch-black street. He was hunched into a hoodie that completely shrouded his face. I quickened my pace and put my hand on the phone in my pocket. Ready to… Well, ready to do what? I’m not sure. Dial 911? I’d be lucky to be able to get the dern thing unlocked in time to dial 911. My worries were for naught. He walked right past me without a glance. Just another person on his way to wherever.

I am an exercise addict. Since I can’t usually throw on skis or fling a kayak out in the water without endless packing, schlepping, and driving, most of the time I walk. I moved my daily walk to early in the morning back when Mouse was in middle school. Interactions between the two of us on school mornings more often than not turned into something resembling World War III. She was old enough to get herself up and off, I got back in time to say goodbye before she left (or drive her to school), and I got my walk over and done with and could get onto other things. Hey, I wasn’t all bad. When she was driving herself to school, every winter morning I’d start up The Indefatigable when I got home from my walk so it’d be all warm and defrosted when she had to leave for school. Grandroobly style! Anyway…

Around here it’s dark at least when I start out for probably seven months out of the year and it’s dark when I get home maybe four of those. I like the dark. It’s a (knock on wood) quiet neighborhood and, at that time of the morning, most people who are out are upstanding citizens thinking about their own agendas. Several pairs of walking women, some joggers, dog-walkers, people hurrying to catch various buses. Sometimes on recycle day, a bottle-picker or two will be making the rounds. This fall, a teenage couple makes out at one of the Pioneer bus stops every morning. That’s a bit unusual, the Pi-hi kids usually stand there like zombies. Anyway, we all pretty much mind our own business with an occasional “good morning” or “seen any skunks down that way today?” being our only conversation.

About once a year or so, I encounter someone who makes me just a bit nervous. And that someone could even be a skunk. Yesterday morning, it was a hooded figure striding toward me out of the dark. No dog or backpack or briefcase and I couldn’t see his face. As I said, he was apparently harmless. Then, when I got up this morning, before I walked, I read an article in the A2 Observer about a local man, a fellow west side resident, who was mugged recently, while walking home in the late evening. On a narrow stretch of sidewalk next to a tall hedge on West Washington. I know that place! It’s not on my daily walk but sometimes I walk home from downtown on a wintry early evening. In the dark. I know who this guy is (the muggee, not the mugger). He’s one half of the Gemini duo (twin brothers) who have, for many years, written and performed music for children and families. A gentle soul. He’s a familiar face and, although he certainly doesn’t know my name, he always returns my smile on our occasional random encounters.

So, I am always very aware of my surroundings but, this morning, I was extra watchful. Would the “hood”lum appear again? And there’s always the fear of skunks. Is that aminal a cat, rabbit, or skunk? I usually slow down until I can see it better. Anyway, I was walking in the area of the “hood”lum. I was past where I had seen him the other day. And then. A male figure came striding toward me out of the darkness. He didn’t have a dog. Actually, he didn’t have a hood either. At first, I thought he had a big backpack on. I skirted out toward the middle of the street. As he got closer, I realized that there was another little face peering around his, looking over his shoulder, intently interested in whatever lay ahead. A baby in a backpack! Been there, done that. “Good morning!” I said to their happy-looking faces. Somewhere in my neighborhood today, a mom was getting a little extra sleep.

To those who worry, I am always VERY aware of my surroundings!

2 Responses to “Boo!”

  1. Webmomster Says:

    My walks these days usually consist of a quick 2-4 block (well, in terms of “subdivision blocks”) walk with the dogs after I get home from work – they give me barely enough time to get in the door, let them out, then get changed from work costume to walking duds before Ernie is pawing at the leashes and the plastic bags to GO!

    While getting out at that time means there’s still daylight (and it’s a nice “reward” for the boyz having had to stay cooped up inside the house for mega hours), the sad part is that there are almost no people outside. Yesterday, I did get home just in time to meet one of GB’s mayoral candidates and have a very nice chat with him. I think I’ll vote for him – he’s only after one term, his business (a successful one, mind you) has been to Turn Around Troubled Businesses. And he has a realistic platform as to how he plans to revitalize our fair city’s downtown. So something *good* came out of that walk and my meeting with “a perfect stranger”!

  2. kayak woman Says:

    Yeah, that mad scramble to get out of “business clothes” at the end of the day. And yesterday, I was later than usual getting out and the pumpkins had to be carved and there was half-dry laundry in the basement and some damn message on the landline from a robot at Hollywood Video. Just what I needed.