I like to go to this running track in my neighborhood. Right before you go in the gate you see this man who sits in a booth. He isn't just any man. He's the security guard.
He waves me in. I always say hello, goodbye and thank you. I am trying to be on friendly terms with this security guard. One reason for this is that I am a very nice person.
I do have some other motivations which are self serving but generally harmless.
If possible I would like to become allies with this security guard. I'm hoping that if he sees me enough he'll wave me in anyway, even when the track is closed for stupid reasons.
Some of these stupid reasons include a tiny bit of ice or snow on a small sections of the track, an unscheduled Columbia sporting practice where there is still plenty of room for me, or unknown random events that are not visible to the naked eye.
I feel like it's going pretty well.
I like to imagine the security guard, sitting in the booth and maybe glancing up from his phone to notice the recovery process unfolding from my broken ankle. When I first started using this track, I walked very slowly until my ankle hurt, then walked even more slowly. Then I started to slow jog a bit. Now I'm jogging more and more.
I haven't been expecting anything but once or twice he gave me a thumbs up.
Today he waved me in.
I did my usual routine. My physical therapist has taught me all about alignment. She's also trained me to be aware of my entire foot surface. Going to the track and exercising is almost like a walking mediation. That's how good it is.
I did some cardio for 30 minutes. I was almost to the gate when I stopped and took some photographs. The sky was very opaque, which made for some interesting relationships with the bleachers, the trees, and the light.
As I'm exiting the gate the guard stops me.
Why aren't you smiling today? He asks. His friend is there with him, hanging outside the booth. What's up? the friend asks.
I've had a hard weekend I said to them. But going to the track helped a little bit, I added.
What were you taking pictures of? The security guard asks. Yeah, said the friend. We were wondering.
When they said pictures it came out sounding more like pitchers.
Oh, I'm an artist, I said. I take some pretty weird pictures. The friend nodded, yeah, I like doing that too, he said. I like taking weird pictures.
So as I'm getting ready to go the security guard gets pretty direct with me. Next time I see you I want you to be smiling, he said.
So I said okay and walked off, when I was a few feet away I gave a little wave. This exchange put a spring in my step on the way home.
I have friends who know where I was yesterday and what I was doing. I'm not mad at them for not checking in. Until I went to the track, I hadn't really thought about it.
The security guard knew something was up. That was a breath of fresh air. You never know where your support is going to come from or who your friends may turn out to be.
A few minutes later, I came to a new conclusion about the security guard. If the track is closed, the track is closed. I'm not going to ask him for special treatment. That's not what friends do or what friends are for.
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