Be prepared. I was not at all. My walking in the City has become a comedy in all its grandeur. I thought nobody actually notices me when I walk for exercise. Then, my older brother keeps telling me somebody saw you walking again. And they are concerned. He would explain to them that my brother is just exercising.
At an intersection, one busy weekday morning, I fell flat on my face. People helped me get up and embarrassed as I was, I exclaimed I am okay. I laughed about it in my mind but I realized how kind and helpful people can be. No one laughed at me, only myself. Things like those I just laugh about them. Why in the world would I wallow in self-pity? Right?
I have been walking for over five years now. The first year it was nothing out of the ordinary. However, now, people practically appear out of nowhere and say hello. For example, the friend of my late brother who also walks early in the morning would greet me a good day. Through the years, I have amassed multitude of stories of how exciting being active and exercising could be…
Depending on which month, I would experience all sorts of anecdotes. In the month of April, I was at the Metropolitan Cathedral grounds and I overheard a man asking for directions from an old lady. I approached him and asked him whether there is still space for me because I would give directions going to the Basilica. He replied yes there is still room in their van.
I asked them where they are from and the family of around ten said they are from Makati and they came for the Church Visits in time for Holy Week. In the middle of the trip going to the destination, the older man exclaimed that indeed they would had been lost if I did not offer to help them. He further elaborated that their landmark is the Indian Temple. And he said it would had been difficult to see that landmark on their own.
Anyway, it was a symbiotic exchange of kindness because I was planning to go to the Basilica as well. At the church, I told the driver to park at the nearest area to the side entrance. As I was leaving they were profusely expressing their words of gratitude.
I do not know if there is a printed notice on my shirt with the words: ask me. Just yesterday a lady asked directions where the City Hall is and at a Mall a lady was asking where a shoe store is located. The funny thing is every time I get asked by strangers their questions about concerns I am amazed that I know all the answers.
Perfect timing? Right place? Right time? I do not know.
Having written that I have been walking all these times, I had become a familiar sight among the avenues’ sidewalks that I daily use.
And sometimes I can sense that a few know me as being an author for Bicol Mail. Because one afternoon I talked to a young lady and she said something that stuck in my mind. She said that she thought that she was lucky to have been able to meet me and she added that there was no way that I would talk to her.
One lunchtime I was by the counter of the restaurant and my face was serious as I was thinking about something that happened to me and I had to ask her would you like to see me smile to make you comfortable. And I gave her a big smile then her demeanor turned full circle. She assisted me cheerfully from then on.
The one thing that amazes me is when foreign Caucasians would make small talk and say hello. I was standing at an intersection and I saw two Caucasians walking towards me and I commented it is so humid why are you guys walking? We had a conversation and I learned they are from the United States then as expected I got asked where I am from? Then, I said I am from here as always.
I had met ladies from Sweden, a couple from France, a lady from France, people from Russia, Africa, Canada, and the list goes on. Yes, I do remember meeting a couple from Finland.
Those are strangers or Samaritans from other lands. But let me tell you this that the chances of meeting people you do know are higher than to be expected. In the Bicol Mail office I meet a lot of people who know me or my parents, or my brothers and sisters. Other public places are the same. Just yesterday I met one of the secretaries of my brother priest in one of the Malls in the City.
My older brother who I look like the most explained it to me succinctly. It is a small City with a population of 196,003. It really is a small world after all.
In the final analysis, when you live an active life it is full of fun and adventure. You see nature. You see people. You see the world. The real world. Not through a smart phone, nor a tablet, nor a television, nor a movie screen. Everything is three dimensional. And most essentially, social interaction is real. Have you experienced living wherever you are? With all your senses? If not, you might want to give it a try? I highly recommend it.