Last night Partygirl and I walked in the park. Sometimes we do the urban hikes, but it was a long and busy day at work yesterday, so I was glad to have an easy little walk. The path is .85 of a mile, and we can do four turns around it before it gets dark, so we can feel as though we’ve gotten some exercise.
Lots of other people were out there, too, strolling with or without dogs in the heavy humid evening. The cicadas were making such a racket that we had to talk rather loudly to be heard over them.
And, because we live in a small Southern college town, people join in one another’s conversations.
When I had been living here a while, I went back to California for a visit and had to just bite my tongue not to join in everyone else’s conversations.
You’ll be walking along and overtake someone, or someone else will overtake you, and for a minute there it is as though you were at a cocktail party and you have a little conversation before the speed differential parts you again. The fact that all the walkers and runners are moving at different speeds allows us to enter and exit one another’s spheres for a while.
So a young bearded man passed through and Partygirl chatted with him a bit. And we admired the dogs of a woman walking in the opposite direction. She had a King Charles Spaniel scooting along ahead of her and a Daschund toddling behind trying to keep up.
And then a few hundred yards later Partygirl was telling me how Obama — she persists in calling him “Osama” but I think that is a slip of the tongue — had said that people say he is “not black enough,” but that he had claimed he was black enough when he was hailing a cab. We were pondering what that might mean. Was he claiming that black men had special cab-hailing skills which he displayed at the right moments, or what?
A woman in hot pink came up behind us and explained, “He means a black man can’t get a cab to pick him up in New York City.”
Our experience with taxis is limited. In fact, the only time I have ever hailed a cab (as opposed to calling one) was many years ago in Baltimore, and the driver was a black man. He berated me for my hailing technique. “Don’t be cute!” he said sternly. I had to explain that I was from the country and had never hailed a cab before, and he did take me where I meant to go, but the experience didn’t leave me with enough information to understand Obama’s remark.
Does it seem to you that we are the slow ones? It is true. We are the ones ambling along sorting out whether the angry bridesmaid was the bride’s second cousin or first cousin once removed, not the speedy ones getting breathless.
We are enjoying ourselves, though.