Thursday, June 24, 2010

Walking in Socks

So, there I was, driving along the highway, minding my own business, when I saw him. I was coming up to a rotary, so I had slowed down and could pay more attention to the scenery. He was about my age, scruffy blond hair, red flannel shirt with a brown t-shirt underneath, khaki shorts, and gray socks. His shoes were tied and looped around his shoulder.

Wait. What?

I took a second glance. He walked along the shoulder of the highway in his socks, without his shoes on. He caught my eye and grinned, then continued walking.

I couldn't just pass him by. I knew all of the horror stories of single women stopping by the side of the road to pick up hitchhikers, just to be murdered horribly in the backseat of their car. I also knew he was going the opposite direction than I was, but curiosity got the better of me. The car behind me honked as I swerved to the side of the road, where I parked my car and left the cool air conditioning to step into the cloying humidity of a Massachusetts summer.

Sweat automatically appeared and drenched my tank top and shorts. I spotted the no-shoes guy further down the road and started jogging toward him.

"Hey!" I shouted, waving my arms. I received a couple more honks from the cars on the road, and that caught the guy's attention. He looked behind and saw me coming at him. He stopped and cocked his head to one side. Doing that, he reminded me of my little chihuahua at home, who, when tempted with a treat, would sit and cock her head to one side, her big brown eyes staring excitedly. Nearing him, I slowed to a stop.

We stared at each other for a few seconds. Now that I'd done the brave thing and approached this intriguing creature, I could think of nothing to say. I grinned sheepishly.

"Uh, hi," I said, holding out my hand for him to shake. "I'm Betty. Need a ride?"

His eyebrows drew together in surprise as he hesitantly took my hand in a firm grip. "Uh, well, actually, I don't. I'm enjoying my walk."

"In this wall of humidity?"

He shrugged. "It is what it is. Besides, I'm going the wrong direction for you anyway."

I blushed and didn't say anything. I looked back at my car. I was driving home from a meeting and had no plans for the afternoon other than trying to stay cool in my non-air conditioned apartment and hopefully finding something good on television. I looked back at the guy, obviously a more interesting character than any I'd find from Hollywood.

Smiling, I asked, "Mind if I join?"

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