The Sum

Because I had a delayed counseling session due to the excessive rain and flooding last week, I took a walk in South Fayetteville today. I listened to TED en Español. And because I didn’t know the area as well as I thought I did, I went a street too far. As a result, I walked an hour and a half instead of thirty minutes. The breeze and the unfamiliarity of the area made it glorious. I went past Baum Stadium, past the not-yet-completed “Marhsall Place,” as well as another complex whose name escaped me, both uncompleted. I witnessed several exciting events, including a lift operator lowering himself with a surprising weight of siding (even as an excited co-worker shouted at him in Spanish from below), a car speeding through a huge parking lot at 100 mph, passing within ten feet of me, and a man sitting in the abandoned Cobb complex (which I didn’t know existed) smoking pot. And another contractor who broke a 3rd or 4th-floor window with his hammer, presumably accidentally. He looked down at me as I waved. He laughed and waved back, shrugging his shoulders. I gave a man $20, and his smile and surprise were so tangible that I almost failed to keep my composure; his reaction was so genuine that I wondered if I had imagined it. A woman who probably didn’t know someone was approaching exited her car and put her pants on. I’m not sure what proceeded that. She nodded as I looked in her direction. I ate at Mr. Taco Loco, consuming a portion of pico de gallo so immense that I felt guilty for eroding their profit margin. And the counselor? She was so surprised I ordered and read the entire book she recommended. I set my next session earlier for next week, even as I wondered what I might miss by removing the ‘extra’ time between work and my session. While none of these events were momentous, they reminded me of the millions of encounters that comprise the sum of our days.

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