I have a healthy distrust of people I don’t know, especially men. I think this is well and good for a woman, especially a young woman like myself. It’s better safe than sorry these days. But sometimes, a chance encounter with someone can restore some of your faith in the human race. I’m not saying anyone should go around looking for strangers to talk to, but sometimes, by exchanging a few words, you can make someone’s day.
Yesterday, I was walking Molly and my neighbor’s dog, Fenway, as I always do. I was in walking mode, maintaining a balance of letting thoughts run through my head without getting lost in them, so as to remain aware of my surroundings, but still be able to ponder. And as I was walking, I saw ahead of me a man spraying Roundup on the weeds in his front lawn. Now, if you have read my last post, you will know that I very much dislike Roundup, (with good reason, I might add,) and the sight of this man spraying it around annoyed me. I didn’t realize I was staring at him until our eyes met.
“Hey,” he said.
“Hey, ” I replied, lowered my eyes, and continued walking. But he had already stopped what he was doing.
“Your dogs are beautiful. My wife and I always see you walking them.”
I get comments like this all the time, as I am always out walking some dog or another.
“I’m sure they’d agree with you,” I said.
He started telling me about his dog, (another thing I get a lot.) An Airedale Terrier that had been abused by his previous owner, kicked, he said, and burnt with a cigarette. He said he was so glad that he and his wife had adopted the dog, that it was the best thing they had ever done.
“My wife says dogs are God’s special gifts,” he told me.
“I’d agree with that,” I replied. “Just think about it; all you have to do is spell “dog” backwards and you get “God.” It wasn’t a particularly profound thought, and I am not the first one to notice it, but I thought I’d throw it out there. He stopped and thought about it for a moment.
“You’re right!” He exclaimed. “I’ve never thought about that. Wow, that’s incredible.” He looked as if he might cry. I started planning my escape route. But he didn’t.
“I’m so glad I stopped to talk to you,” he said. “You’ve made my day. I have to go in and tell my wife what you said.” Then Fenway got it into his goofball head that it would be fun to kick up the grass. We laughed about that, exchanged pleasantries, and I went on my way. In this day, in this age, in this country, it can be so easy to dismiss the human race in general as a bunch of insensate jerks. But here I had found a man who’s day could be made simply by pointing out a semordnilap.
I felt lucky. And for one small moment, I glimpsed the hidden, elusive, hard-to-see truth that there is and always will be hope for us.
All of us.