Today’s been very strange so far. If I believed in things like the alignment of the moon affecting behavior, I’d be checking the forecast for sure. It began simply enough, with my usual commute to work. Along my usual route a “gentleman” was walking along the road, which isn’t strange. Suddenly, and without provocation, he turned to the cars as they passed with his hands outstretched as though to say, “Come at me bro!”
I could understand if he was being honked at or otherwise heckled, but as far as I could tell this was not the case. None of the cars slowed down, and typically traffic on that road blows by at about 50+ miles per hour, so his response seemed strange.
I considered perhaps that he were looking to hitchhike. Most people don’t take leisurely strolls along that street, so it would make sense that he would be trying to get a ride. However, the “Come at me bro!” stance would not be one that I would likely to pull over for (not that I’d stop for a hitchhiker anyway). Most people trying to get a ride opt for a less aggressive approach, and typically use the one-thumb universal signal for a ride.
Later that day, I was out grabbing some items at the local drugstore and then picking up some lunch. The shopping center can sometimes be a bit shady, as panhandlers will often take the bus from center to center, moving on when the police arrive or when the patrons are picked clean. I’ve been approached once, but the person wasn’t close enough to me and I was able avoid him. I’d seen a few him before, walking right up to people at their cars, asking for money, so I knew that once I got out of my vehicle, I had better be moving.
Today, though, takes the cake. A man with a walker was laying across the sidewalk near the entrance of the drug store. When I say laying across, he was half on the sidewalk, half off. But the way he was laying, you could tell that he had not fallen. He was attempting to work on his walker the same way you’d check the engine of car, lying on his back looking up at the bottom of the walker’s feet. His legs sprawled into the road, but he laid there with what seemed like an odd sense of purpose.
I spent a few extra minutes than I needed to in the drug store, hoping that he would be gone when I was finished. Instead, he was now sitting up on the edge of the sidewalk, the walker also upright next to him. I didn’t linger. Rather than walk past him, I got into my car and drove to the other side to pick up my lunch. It was a move of total avoidance, but sometimes when weirdness presents itself, it’s just best not to tempt it.
After I got my lunch and was heading back to my car, noticed the man wandering the parking lot, still in the street. He was moving along okay, not seeming to need the walker at all. I began to wonder if it was a prop he might use for panhandling or if he had stolen it from someone. Either way, I wasn’t going to find out.