Walking Cross Town. A Good Walk Spoiled.

Just another day.

Walking cross-town to the office.

Paddling in an introvert’s dichotomy soup – preferring to be held in the comforts of Home, of the Known, yet, nourished by the anonymity of the city. The City. Where I can walk for days, for weeks, and never be recognized, and never recognize anyone. Where you can walk for blocks in your own head and remain peacefully undisturbed, in your anxieties, your doubts, and flashes of unexpected wonder.  A small dog on a leash, sniffing, then pulled by the owner, both navigating through the rush hour throngs of feet. I watch them. The branches of a Japanese bonsai tree in a small green patch fluttering in a wind gust, as the hulking, soulless gray skyscrapers glare from above. I look back to carry it with me. A bird, or a small flock of birds, sailing in the wind tunnel of 46th street. My arms are pulled upward to sail with them. There are these few, so few, that rush to park upfront, for immediate recall.

So I walk. I’m left alone. Whatever the day, and no matter the weather. It’s my time.

It’s Tuesday. Same landscape. Same story. Same velvety cocoon.

Your name is called out.

You are sure it is a mistake.

You keep walking. You don’t acknowledge the shout behind you.

The call is repeated, a rude awakening from a deep sleep, in the midst of a beautiful dream.  This good walk spoiled. Shattered.

“Hey Dave.”

I turn to see him smiling.

“I bet you don’t remember me.”

You bet right. I don’t have a clue who you are. The mind races. Work? College? High School? Home town?

“No, I’m so sorry. I don’t.”

He shares his name. Name means nothing to me. And he’s caught this, not someone special enough for me to remember. He’s stung by it.

“You seem to be in a hurry.  I won’t take any of your time.  I work at ABC Co. now on 43rd street. If you have a few minutes, it would be great to catch up. Grab a coffee. Give me a call.”

He hands me his business card. I don’t look at it, for fear that I will be further exposed.

“Sounds great. I’ll give you a call. I look forward to it.”

Small, so specific, little lies, so cutting and transparent. Both knowing that I’ll never make the call.

I turn, walking away. Three blocks to the office. I hold his card in the fingertips of my right hand, which rests in my pocket.  My thumb and forefinger rub the raised and embossed lettering of his name on the card.

So you carry burden of the Untruth(s).

The weight of the casualness of the Little Lies, deployed to pull the escape hatch, as you have done so many times before.

I’ll remember this moment.




  1. Reblogged this on It Is What It Is and commented:
    How many times has this happened? … quite interesting to think about it!!
    ‘The weight of the casualness of the Little Lies, deployed to pull the escape hatch, as you have done so many times before. I’ll remember this moment.’ … Inspired by – “The perfume of sandalwood, rosebay, or jasmine cannot travel against the wind. But the fragrance of virtue travels against the wind, as far as the ends of the world. By The Dhammapada, The Dhammapada: The Sayings of the Buddha.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. EXTRA-ORDINARY….. I know that feeling too! I could even tell you stories of ppl I met across the ocean and had, at first, no idea whatsoever from where I knew them and in what function.
    I’m repeating myself, but THOSE true stories are really your best ones!

    Another kind of re-finding old friends: 10 days ago, in Switzerland, I was in a shop where I usually am NOT, minding my own business, when a voice, I wd recognize everywhere, said behind me: Well, if this isn’t Kiki?!, I KNOW only one person in the whole world with this hair….. and I turned around to find a friend of my tender youth, a woman, 18mo older than me, with whom we did so many stupid and outrageous things that I am ashamed to tell them, and will have to wait to tell them until my mother is in her grave too, because she would worry herself to death, if she knew! THAT was pleasant – we immediately (well, after nearly 40′ of talking in the shop) got together for a lake-cruise on the next day and spent some 4hrs together…..

    Liked by 3 people

  3. So, question,
    If I run into you can I come introduce myself? Or should I just keep walking?

    Liked by 3 people

  4. Beautiful, and so very relatable.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. So well you share the introvert’s internal world, David, and as an introvert I smile in appreciation. I especially love it when your name is called out and a stranger comes crashing in. Beautifully written.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. By now you know I’m not a city person, but this scenario could happen in a small town too. I think we’ve probably all been there, done that – not knowing someone we are told we should remember. But the anecdote aside (with regard to the anonymity in a city), I would find it very lonely to be in a city of millions of people who don’t know each other, who pass each other by without a word, or who shout their personal problems and altercations from sidewalk to apartment windows without a care who hears them (since no one else exists in this world of millions). “Alone in a crowd.”

    Liked by 1 person

  7. You need to call him… and pay for the coffee. You will always wonder if you don’t and it will make you feel very good if you do. Unless that is that he is a psycho killer and begins staking you. If that happens, I apologize in advance.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Aren’t you a bit curious? I mean he called you Dave not David, so there’s some familiarity here. But then again, he could be a WordPress stalker too!!I Tell you what, if I’m in NYC and see you, and you look vague and stumble for words, I won’t be so polite ha!! 😎

    Liked by 2 people

  9. This happened to me recently at a conference — and the person (who?????) asked me directly if I remembered them and I mumbled something but the answer was no. Gah.

    I actually enjoy running into people in the city, and it does happen occasionally

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I loathe when someone remembers me and I don’t them. Feel like sh*t coz… why the hell do they remember me and I don’t remember them?

    I’ll be the one in the red coat you are observing from afar and wondering why the hell she looks familiar but can’t put your finger on it – and I won’t move forward and interrupt your musings… k?

    Liked by 1 person

  11. I miss not being able to walk without pain

    Liked by 1 person

  12. I don’t know how to respond to this brutally truthful, well crafted piece. So many thoughts and sensations. My heart goes out to that stranger for persistence in the face of rejection and artifice. But I feel the pain of your introversion, simply trying to be alone with your thoughts.

    Living as isolated as I have for decades, I get plenty of time to remain quietly at home with my reflections. I also work from home. If I go out amongst other people, I prepare myself for human interactions which I can make brief and kindly dismissive or more involved, depending.
    I’ve said it before, I do not know what I would do in a city. Likely I would go summarily and quickly quite mad.

    Aloha, David. 🌺

    Liked by 1 person

  13. It happens, we’re human! We meet thousands and thousands of people. And, I don’t think its possible to remember each one. The curious thing of course, is his, response. That alone, would have me ringing his number. I’d have to find out the details.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Ah, the price of fame…

    Liked by 1 person

  15. as an introvert, it sometimes makes me cringe. as a mother, I always respond to my name (mom), being called. as a teacher, I turn to help. as a traveler, I’m happy to see a friendly face, as a person on this planet, I am always curious to know someone’s story.

    Liked by 2 people

  16. I always enjoy running into people from my past. Its disappointment I can trust. You should call him.

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Oh wow! Beautiful writing. And just so you know, I already have a plan hatched just in case I’ll spot you on one of my work trips to midtown Manhattan

    Liked by 1 person

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