I came upon an old woman pushing her bike. We were near the place where the secondary bike path, the one most people don’t use, turns into a trail. We were the only ones out this far, and the houses that line the path were fewer and farther apart.

I thought, “Well, maybe she has a flat. I’d better check on her.”

I slowed as I approached, not sure she’d even seen me. “You ok?” I asked. She explained that she had some leaves and twigs caught under her fender. I pointed out that her wheel was rolling just fine. She was a little confused by this observation, maybe embarrassed. She said, “You don’t have fenders,” as if this resolved something. Then she asked where the trail ended, and when I said, “In an office park, actually,” she looked even more confused.

“Well, where are you going,” she asked.

“To Concord, eventually,” I said. “But there’s some winding around in the woods to get there.”

She smiled. “I don’t like to ride on the road,” she said.

It was a slightly awkward moment. I think she was glad I was concerned about her, but like me, she just wanted to be left alone.

Sometimes there are just too many words, and it doesn’t give you the space to think, you know?

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  1. khal spencer says

    Stopping to care is good. Taking an intrusion gracefully, even if someone is intruding on another’s zone of silence, is good, too. Having been stuck ten miles from a gas station on an interstate at 0200 on a motorcycle, I appreciated the guy who fetched me some gasoline after stopping to see why I was sitting on the side of the road.

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