I’m pretty. Tim told me so.
Today was a crazy beautiful day in the middle of a midwestern January. I can only assume it’s because of global warming, and we’re either going to drown because of the melting ice caps or die from the onslaught of influenza that the warmer winters bring. But, in the meantime, I intend to enjoy the nice days. So I headed out to my favorite park with a picnic lunch and my bike in tow.
I rode for about 45 minutes, which is my longest post-op ride to date. I was able to get in about 10 miles. Not a super fast average, but I’m still experiencing pain, so I have to take it easy. Shortly after, I needed to take a minute or 60 to eat my lunch. I needed a break because I was meeting friends for a ride a little later in the afternoon.
When the time came, I rode over to the parking lot where I planned to meet my friends. They had texted to let me know they would be a little bit late because they got slightly waylaid (because who doesn’t need a margarita at noon on Saturday?). I decided I might as well wait in the right parking lot though. I was standing next to my bike, looking at my phone, when I was approached by a man walking up from the nearby woods.
I had my headphones in, so it took me a minute to realize that the man was talking to me. He wanted to let me know that a woman had left her dog’s bowl at the picnic table to my left and that she was looking for her dog. Seems it got away from her. I said ok and that I’d keep an eye out for the dog. We stood there in uneasy silence for a few seconds, and then he said, “By the way, my name’s Tim.”
“Hi, Tim. I’m Laura.”
“I said, my name is Laura.”
“Who?” And then Tim takes a few steps toward me that brings him well inside my personal space.
“Laura. My name is Laura.” I was having trouble looking him in the eye because I was too busy looking for an escape route and thanking my lucky stars that there were other people around.
“Oh, I think… I think I’ve met you before.” No, Tim, you haven’t met me. I’m sure I would have remembered.
“Hmmm… No, I don’t think we’ve met before.”
“Well, I think you’re pretty, Laura.” And then Tim decides to pet my shoulder twice for good measure. Ever heard of personal space, Tim?!
“It was nice to meet you, Laura.” And with that, Tim sticks out his hand for a friendly handshake. Oh boy. I didn’t know what to do but go ahead and shake his hand.
“Thanks, Tim, it was nice to meet you, too.”
If any of my friends/family/co-workers are reading this, they’re going to be hung up on the part where I shook a strange man’s hand. Because I won’t shake hands. I make people fist bump because I can’t handle the germs. I can’t HANDLE the germs. I won’t even let people hug me, unless it’s a special occasion, like a funeral. But yet, I shook a stranger’s hand today in the middle of a particularly bad flu season. But what could I do? The man had just told me I was pretty.