While Strolling Through the Park One Day…

Bear with me, people. It’s another park story.

Desert mountainSo I’m walking Dog along a mountain path – she’s off leash, by the way. Yes, there is a sign clearly posted at the entrance of the park with a rule stating, “Pets must remain leashed at all times.”

Right. I’m going to walk in this big mountain park, with jackrabbits galore, with Dog who is part Border Collie, part Lab, and I’m going to keep her leashed? Not bloody likely.

Before you lecture me, Dog is extremely well-behaved, comes to my side whenever I call her, and I always pick up after her. Always. Because I’m not a barbarian.

Anyway, I’m walking along the path, Dog is trotting ahead happily, having just sniffed a rock with great satisfaction, and I am very, very deep in thought. If you must know, I am thinking about the elephant shrew.

Did you know the elephant shrew isn’t actually a shrew? For many years it was believed Elephant shrewthis little guy developed his elephant-like nose based on his surroundings. But from more recent DNA and protein analysis, we find it’s the elephant part of name that better describes him.

Yep. This little guy and the Elephant share a common ancestor. Fascinating, isn’t it? (Yes, I’m currently reading a book on evolution. For fun. You got a problem with that?)

Back to the walk. Dog and I walk around a large bush and I hear someone say, “Hi!” About 20 feet ahead of me is a man. I return the greeting and prepare to leash Dog before the guy can lecture me about park rules.

Instead, he talks to me as if he knows me. Asks me how I’ve been doing, he hasn’t seen me in a while, that sort of thing. My confusion must have shown as he adds, “Remember? I’m the guy who says your dog reminds me of another dog I know.”
“Oh yeah, right.” (I have absolutely no memory of this.)
“My name’s Ron.” (At least I think he said Ron. It may have been Don. Possibly John.) “I usually run into you over there,” he gestured toward the south entrance of the park, where the leash laws are posted.
“Yes, of course.  I remember.” (I don’t remember.)
“I was wondering if you know how Biscuit is doing?”
I stare at him blankly.
“Biscuit is the dog who looks like your dog.”
“Oh, right. Um… I don’t know.”
“They usually walk here a lot, but I haven’t seen them in a long while.”
“Um, yeah. I haven’t seen them.” (We’re standing closer at this point and I see he has blue eyes. More on this later.)
“Last I heard he wasn’t doing well.”
“That’s a shame.”
“Yeah. Poor thing. I hope he’s okay, but I know he was pretty old.”
“Um… yeah.”
“Well, I’ll let you go. Have a good rest of your day. Talk to you later.”
“Yeah… you too… um, have a good day.”

Okay, so I’ve given this encounter some thought, as I’m sure you can imagine, and here’s what I’ve come up with:

  • It would be easy to dismiss this as a case of mistaken identity. He just confused me with another middle age blonde lady who walks her white dog with distinctive markings at this particular park at this particular time. But I know myself. It’s far more likely I forgot. *head cast down in shame*
  • There are people in this world who, when walking in a park, talk to other people. They learn dogs’ names, inquire about their health, and grow concerned when not seeing said dog.
  • Evolutionarily-speaking, all humans share a common ancestor – or to be precise, an ancestor with our mitochondria – making us all related in a remarkably close manner.
  • Both Ron/Don/John and I have blue eyes. All blue-eyed people share a common ancestor, who may have lived as recently as 10,000 years ago.
  • In spite of these evolutionary truths, I see more connection between the tiny elephant shrew and her far larger cousin, than I do between myself and Ron/Don/John.
  • I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Extroverts puzzle me. Are we absolutely certain we’re not separate species?
  • Seriously.

Author: C. J. Hartwell

Christi lives in Phoenix with Husband, Son, Daughter, and Dog. She enjoys moonlit walks on the beach, but as she doesn't live anywhere near a beach, she's usually in bed by 9:30.

16 thoughts on “While Strolling Through the Park One Day…”

    1. That’s what my husband said! But then he always thinks guys are hitting on me. I’m just baffled. Glad you could tell I was joking. 🙂 In truth, most of my life I always felt the odd one out. Navigating social media is much, much easier for me than the real deal. But I’m getting better! 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Interesting story. I wouldn’t leash my dog in the place you describe either, they need to run free sometimes. I get that too, people who are extremely friendly and your like um do I know you? because you are usually as an introvert, thinking about something in your head while trying to keep the dog in sight. One of my best friends K for like 10 yrs now told me when we first started hanging out how she didn’t get how quiet people could be so shy and not have much to say. Pretty much K loves to be the Center of attention wherever she is, and conversation streams out of her mouth at a fast rate. I don’t mind this she has interesting things to say and she is a fun, understanding, and wonderful person. But my point is, I think extroverts and introverts, especially ones on very opposite ends of the spectrum, seem not get each other, why we act how we do. Thanks for sharing,

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Very good point. I’m like you, I enjoy extroverts when there’s substance in what they say, but when they just prattle on, it can be a bit much.
      The first time I took a Myers-Briggs test it was with a certified counselor, so the results showed where I stood on each spectrum. I was as far over on the introvert side as you can get! I didn’t answer a single question in an extroverted way. My husband wasn’t surprised at all. He’s an extrovert with substance. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. We get that all the time when we’re hiking. It is as if, just because you share a common interest like dogs or hiking, you’re suddenly best friends. Being on a trail together doesn’t mean we’re suddenly related 😉

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Hahaha! I always wanted a childhood friend where we could feed off each other’s neuroses and speak of things that would become future therapy sessions. I somehow feel deprived.

        Liked by 1 person

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