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On PedestriansNovember 29, 2011

Oh, it's foggy today, so lovely and drippy and heavy and dark, and I LOVE IT. This is my favorite time of year, and November is my favorite month. The trees are just now turning (we do have lovely colors here, just not in such abundance as other places) and the roads are shiny and everything is just so pretty.

I'm at the cafe, about to get my write on, but I just had a nice thing happen, and I thought I'd tell you about it. It was a tiny moment. While driving down Bancroft, I stopped for an older man who was waiting at the crosswalk. Now, I'm great at stopping for pedestrians. I believe people on foot have as much right to cross the street as I have to drive it, and unfortunately, sometimes that translates into total impatience when I'm the one waiting to walk across the street. I'm one of those people who marches into the crosswalk, feigning indifference to the cars. I'm never actually indifferent; I stop walking and don't get in front of them if they don't stop for me. I don't have a death wish, but I like to give drivers a little scare if they don't stop, a little oh-crap-shoulda-seen-her moment. I expect drivers to stop, and I know it shows in my walk. I give a little flip of the hand, a terse "thanks" with no real gratitude.

So a few moments ago, I stopped for the older man. I slowed early and waved at him to let him know I saw him.

He crossed. While he was crossing, he grinned hugely and waved at me. That was nice. I sat up straighter and smiled, waving back.

Then, when he got to the median, he turned around and gave me an even happier wave. It was lovely. I wanted to stop the car and get out and hug him, but that would have been taking the whole pedestrian/driver contract way too far. But it made me think: when I cross the street, maybe I can initiate those moments with drivers. A smile. A cheerful, thankful wave. Why is that too much to ask from myself? Yes, legally they should stop. But that doesn't prevent me from really thanking them for their courtesy. His wave and smile were just so awesome. He made my day and won't ever know it.

There. I took a seven second exchange and made it into 400 words. I can tell I'm doing the final pretty-word-pass of the current manuscript, reading it on my Kindle, because I'm craving the actual writing.

(If you haven't had enough of me, I'm also up at the PensFatales today, talking about leftovers.)

(Also, it's 9:26am, and there's a full on first coffee date happening in front of me. It's cute, but if that nice boy doesn't stop talking about nothing but himself, the pretty girl isn't going to call him back, I'm just saying. Friendly tip.)


Ah, yes, the loveliness of our fog. I made my usual morning commute from Oakland to Hayward, in and out of the fog, knitting away on a holiday gift while BART carried me to my destination. I love wet and drippy outside, warm and cozy inside. I can't wait to relocate to Humboldt where fog is the norm all year. I hope I'll still love it when it's not such a novelty.

it's sunny and almost warm here in Santa Cruz, and it's making me grumpy. I want winter! knitting weather! soup weather! also, being sick and heartbroken makes me want the weather to match my mood. So, enjoy your dark and drippy, and please send dome of it south!

Well, actually, I HATE November, but our pretty leaves are all gone by now, and it's cold and will snow any time now. However, the November you describe sounds great!

And I always wave at drivers who stop for me in the crosswalk, because there are so many who don't!

I have been known to walk out into traffic, but only if there is time for the car to stop or they are moving very slowly, and I have on occasion thumped the hood of a car that I felt was invading my space. But I always say thanks to drivers that stop nicely, so I think it evens out.

And I know you'll appreciate that I finished NaNo, with a day to spare!

I spend a lot of time knitting at my local Starbucks (LOVE the baristas, who take such good care of our Tuesday night knitting group!) and have sort of sat in on a lot of coffee-first-dates. If only it were appropriate for us to give advice to these folks! One poor guy sat there looking stunned as his date treated it like a job interview, telling him that "tattoos are a non-starter for me" and laying out all kinds of other conditions. Let's just say I see here in there by herself a lot....

I do love our fog. And that you and that man took the time to simply notice and enjoy each other's company for however brief a time you got to share.

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Rachael loves it when book clubs read her work! She's happy to attend book clubs that read her books either in person or via Skype. Contact her at rachael@rachaelherron.com to make arrangements.


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