I've been called a creature of habit by more than a few friends; hell, I've been called a creature of habit by complete strangers. Something about taking a daily walk seems to make people notice me whether I notice them or not (I'm the oblivious type, so I usually don't).
Between the snow and my faltering lungs, I've barely walked three times in the past two weeks. So, when I walked Grace Street today and passed by the store where a couple of my regular chatters work, I found them outside taking a smoke break (yes, them, here) as usual. First thing out of their mouth was where had I been, as if I'd had the nerve to take a break from walking by them every morning. After making my excuses, one of them had a second accusation.
"Hey, wasn't that you I saw at Balliceaux last week, but without the earmuffs?" As a matter of fact, it was and I had to explain that I don't always look the way they see me, that is, in walking clothes. It's like when a kindergartner finds out his teacher doesn't actually live in the classroom. Shock and surprise!
"You had the best seat in the house," he further accused. "I was elbow to elbow with all those other people. That places gets crazy!"
I had had an excellent seat at the bar, so everyone had to come by where I was sitting and I could enjoy the company of whomever or turn my back and ignore it all. And then it occurred to me: why hadn't he said hello if he'd seen me? Am I only worthy of conversation on Grace Street and not when I'm cleaned up and out?
"I wasn't sure you'd recognize me," he said sheepishly, as if without the cigarette I wouldn't have. Come on, even I'm not as oblivious as all that.