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Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Don't Hesitate to Greet Someone You Recognize

Not long after settling in Novato, I was riding my bike around one day in San Francisco. While I was waiting at an interesection for the traffic light to change, I was approached by a young prostitute. She walked up to me and said her name was Jennifer. She was not very attractive and there was a sense of desperation about her; she asked if I "wanted to party." I've never paid for sex before, and I refused her advances. She seemed dissapointed--said she was hungry. I was trying to be polite, and told her I didn't have any money.
About a month later, I was walking around the city looking for work and I ran into her again. I was waiting to cross the street when I was startled by a loud, sharp noise--it sounded like an explosion. I looked to my right and there was Jennifer again. She looked better now, clean and happy--we looked each other straight in the eyes and I recognized her immediately--I don't think she recognized me, though. It took me a few moments to remember where I knew her from and, as I was already almost across the street, I didn't speak to her. I was truly shocked at running into this girl twice within a month in the immense metropolitan area of San Francisco. When I got to the opposite corner I turned around and looked at her again; we gazed at each other momentarily. She was trying, but I don't think she figured out that I was the man that she had propositioned weeks before, because now I was wearing a suit and tie. She was looking to turn a trick and I think she got scared. Maybe she thought I was a cop, or maybe she was just trying to figure out where she had met me before. I walked away and continued my search for a good noodle-house. While eating my noodle-soup in a little Thai place I had found, I made up my mind that I would go look for her and call her by name. I was fascinated; I wanted to tell her I was a friend, but when I got back to the corner where I had seen her, she was gone. I was surprised at my own sense of disappointment.
Later I was riding a bus through the city, trying to get back to Marin. I sat next to a man that reminded me of a guy I had met on the plaza in Santa Fe, New Mexico, named John. People always had thought of him as retarded, because it seemed like he was. Actually I thought of him as more of an idiot-savant--often I would chat with him on the plaza, and we were friends. He spoke to me on the bus as if he had known me for years. He followed me when I reached my stop. I was having trouble finding my way back to the the Golden-Gate to catch a bus back to Marin and, as I sought a place to catch another bus that would get me where I was going, he followed me further. He spoke to me in such a familiar way, that I became concerned he would try to follow me home. We got on the next bus together and rode for awhile. He kept staring at me as if he was waiting for me to recognize him. Then he suddenly got off the bus. As the bus was pullling away, he turned and stared into my eyes from the sidwalk. Now as I write this, I believe it really was my friend John, who was sitting next to me on the bus. I wished I had realized it sooner. I saw him again a few weeks later, but again, I didn't realize it until it was too late. I turned and ran back down the sidewalk, but he was gone again.
David Scott, 10-05-2007

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