Maybe I should title this one “Everyone Wants My Autograph” instead. Nah. Living near my campus is a double-edged sword. I am nearby if I need to come home when ill or must make some type of unexpected wardrobe adjustment. Bonus! When I walk the neighborhoods of my subdivision, I keep an eagle eye for vehicles and the rare loose dog. Earbuds do not grace my ears on my normal morning walks. You would think I would maintain my standard.
I wish I was not so fabulous and well-known and such a celebrity. I went to the track near my home to walk this morning. A trio of high school aged young men were training with sprints and then began running the track. They were in their zone; I was in my zone. I had my praise and sacred songs playlist in my earbuds. Only once did I disturb their exercise time by singing out loud. As I realized they were running right by me, my mouth snapped shut. We were cool.
As I completed my sixth or seventh lap around the flat human hamster wheel, I sensed a presence. Unbeknownst to me, a former sixth grader had spotted me and came up to me while I was walking. Apparently my disguise of over-sized t-shirt, hair pulled up in a mess up-do, and shades failed to shield me from my public. Running Man was not one of my charges. He did not seem to understand me when I said, “Walk down the hallways” during the school year but regarded me in an open-mouthed and glassy-eyed manner.
This previous interaction had not endeared Running Man to me, but when he arrived in my classroom for standardized testing day, that was fine. When he tried to sleep on both days, I won the battle of wills and consciousness. At the end of testing, I shed no tears to see him depart. I bid him and the rest of my charges adieu and went on my way minding my own business.
Today, my earbuds kept me ignorant of my name being called. I did not know of his presence until Running Man nearly touched my arm. He had actually nearly breached my personal space. We made eye contact. I quipped, “I’m doing something right now.” I continued my walk down the last straightaway of the track and walked home with a circuitous route checking over my shoulder in the event that I was followed.
The moral of this story: don’t wear earbuds on the track.