I took a walk yesterday in Bellbowrie, down our street on the edge of Brisbane River. I tend to walk on the grass because I like the soft- feel on my feet as I walk. Where we live, there is usually a piece of the city council land between the road and the various properties, enough for footpaths and walkers.
It was almost 5:45pm and with our winter, the place became dark quickly. I had a torch but I could still see so I did not use it.
“Are you right?” I heard a voice and saw a young man, about mid twenties, wearing white shorts and a polo coming towards me. I did not recognise him. He was walking on the road, going in the opposite direction.
Suddenly, I thought to myself, “why wouldn’t I be right?” And, “do I not look alright?” “Am I wrong?”
The tone of this young man’s voice did not seem friendly. I did not say any thing at first, just looked at him. I also wondered myself – if he was alright. I did not ask. My house was only four houses up the road.
Then, I calmly and with my best and warmest smile, I said, “I enjoy walking on the grass because it is soft and feet-friendly. I don’t like walking on hard surfaces”.
“Oh!” he responded with a puzzled look and then walked past me.
I don’t think it was the answer he expected. If that wasn’t the answer – what did he expect?
I re-told this random conversation to my younger son and he suggested, “may be the man thought you were ‘sus'”. (meaning suspicious).
“Do I look suspicious?”
To that question my son laughed and told me not to worry. How can I not? It troubles me that given the world we live in today, you can never know what is well-meaning and what is not. Have we humans become allergic to each other?