These winter stories are starting to bother me, because there’s only so much interaction anyone wants to do in the snow. I am bundled with a scarf over my chin and mouth, a hat pulled low over my head, my hands pushed deep into my pockets. An older man moves slowly toward me. We’re navigating a morning for who knows what reason, while our neighbors seem to be tucked warmly indoors.
We encounter each other at a slush-snow-puddle-mix and as we pass each other, I am about to say nothing. I think it’s the frigid temperatures, the exhaustion at always having to make an effort, the momentary insecure-shyness that can keep me from being who I can really be. As we were almost shoulder to shoulder, something moves me to say, “Hi!” And he lights up. He almost wants to stop, though the weather make all interactions a walk-by, so he calls out, “Hello! And Bye!” all at once. This is how you survive the storms.
In better weather, on the other coast–a walk-by Hi in Mt. Angel, Oregon.