I went out for a walk after my day of working at home. I had had enough of video screens and just wanted to exercise a little rather than sit around drinking coffee or surfing the web. I got some physical distance from work and I came face to face, albeit with a greater than six foot distance, with Today’s Perfect Moment.
I live in a suburban area that has some nice walking trails. Sadly, with the start of spring they aren’t quite dry yet. Also, they have probably been “closed” like the parks. Surprisingly, a little piece of paper taped or stapled to a post now seems to do much better than padlocks and iron bars. This isn’t the world we wanted but it is the world we now have to deal with. So, no trail, but some nicely built sidewalks and other concrete features were mine for the exploring.
On my walk, I took a rather indirect route and let people (as in avoiding people) help me make up my mind to turn or keep walking. I found myself walking down a street that I knew some friends lived on. With physical distancing in place, I had no intention of stopping by to visit. I did, however, have the intention of checking out what cars he and his wife were driving and if they had put the addition on their house–yes, it has been that long since I have seen them.
They were friends who belonged to a different time in my life. We had formed a little circle of ESL teachers who had wives we brought to Canada after teaching overseas. We had lots to bond over and the wives likewise. They also had strength in numbers. Eventually we drifted apart and despite being within walking distance, I haven’t spent any time with them in the past decade. Since we work in the same industry, but in different places, I have crossed paths with people who have worked with him and we have sent back and forth warm greetings and thoughts of getting together every now and then.
Today, while walking down the street, I spotted a couple who I was instantly convinced was them. I wasn’t wearing my glasses, but I knew it was them. We stopped and had a conversation by talking across the street as we both stood on the sidewalk. When his wife spotted me, she wanted to run over and hug me hello, but she managed to stop herself. I guess we have made a thing of physical distance (we no longer call it social distance) these days. It is becoming the instinct rather than the afterthought.
While our conversation was a little weird, it really wasn’t. We discussed how both of our schools are now teaching online from home and how the students are dealing with it. We updated one another on our lives. Sadly they passed on the news that one of the other couples in the aforementioned circle were currently separated. My friend expressed hope that they would somehow find their way back together. I don’t have nearly the optimism that he manages to hold, but I don’t begrudge him that. I have seen positive thinking work some incredible magic.
I finished the walk feeling pretty good. I even remembered to take a picture while on my journey to commemorate it. It isn’t a picture of our long distance conversation, though. It is a picture of a river that runs through the now closed park near my house. It seemed pretty to me even though the day was a tad bleak.