I went for a run jog last night and saw him again – let’s call him Arnold. Arnold is probably 80 years old and has a dog – a black and white splotchy mutt, who looks eerily similar to him (as dogs sometimes do). I see Arnold literally almost every time I’m running on the paved trail around campus, which I’ll admit, is not super often, but usually at least a couple of times a week. Inevitably I’ll see him coming (he always goes counter-clockwise, I always go clockwise), shuffling along slowly, favoring his right leg. His left hand holds onto a leash that extends backwards about 10 feet to his dog, who is also limping slowly with head down (the only difference is the dog’s tongue is always out and Arnold’s usually is not).
I have been seeing Arnold around the track for at least a few months now, and after noticing he was a “regular” I started saying hi to him each time we passed one another, hoping for eventual recognition on his face. I am sad to report, though, that he continues on oblivious to my repeated presence on the track – sometimes he’ll respond and quietly say hello back, as one would to a stranger, and sometimes he must not hear me at all (that’s what I tell myself) and continues along without so much as a glance.
Now, why do I want so badly for him to recognize me? Maybe it has something to do with the shared “night-on-the-(paved)-trail” experience. Perhaps it’s because I think he and his dog are an adorable combo. But mostly it’s because I want to give him a smile, a high five, and a ‘way to go’ for his determination and consistency, but I feel I can’t do this until he knows I’ve seen him countless times already. (I guess maybe the high five might be a little too much for most people, regardless of how many times we’d run past each other…) So, for now, I will continue with my own determination and consistency, and maybe, just maybe, Arnold will one day be the one to say hi to me first, with a look of recognition in his eye.