It’s a Small World

Today was a meet-up hike, my third time with Randy as our fearless leader. It was sunny with little to no mud and lots of cows.  About twenty of us, plus four small dogs, walked five miles in two and a half hours. The great part is that the meet-up hikers go to places I’d never go to alone.

We (carpooled) got to Hercules early and used the disgusting parking-lot bathroom with no lights, so the door had to be kept ajar.  It smelled so bad that I put on my face mask before entering.  Still, it was better than no bathroom.

Randy did the circle-up where we said our first names and what town we were from. We had people from all over: Hercules, Pinole, Martinez, Orinda, Danville, San Ramon, Benicia, San Leandro, Lafeyette, and Pleasant Hill. Many people knew one another.

I brought my little Nikon camera and took photos of mossy tree limbs, rolling hills, and interesting paths.  I’d walk a while with one person, then another, as we shifted our places on the single-track trail.  Most people went maskless, but I had my N-95 for pollen more than for COVID.  I wore it except when going uphill and it became too hot.

I talked with a man about a movie he’d seen the day before about a guy with Asperger’s. The movie is called Adam.

There were five guys and fifteen women.  The age range was fifty to seventy-something.  One of the dogs was male, so there’s that. Always more women at all the meet-ups, it seems.

We had a snack break halfway through. I ate my banana and sat on a picnic table seat after a guy slid over for me.

Then we ran into a cow issue. Two juvenile cows were in the middle of the single-track path with their mom standing watch over them.  One guy was going to shoo the young cows away, and I suggested that he rethink that. We abandoned the trail and gave Mama Cow a wide berth.

Now we were going downhill and I ended up in the back since I kept stopping to take photos. A woman was ahead of me, and she told me about all the shows she and her daughters had binge-watched during the pandemic. The longer we spoke, the more familiar her voice sounded. When we got back to the bridge that crossed to the parking lot, I said, “You seem so familiar. Where do you live?”

She lived in the same town as I do.

“What’s your last name?” I asked.

When she told me, I was surprised. It was a name that had been, up to that moment, thirty years in the past.

“We know each other from the babysitting co-op years ago,” I said. “We were in the Newcomers’ Club the same time I was. You sold me window treatments for my house.”

I’m not sure she recognized my name, but I was sure of hers. I brought up a bunch of women in the co-op that I’ve still kept in touch with while she tried to remember me.

One guy kept us entertained the week before with his witty repartée and his cute dog.

I’ll have to pay him a licensing fee since I used his dog’s photo. Or so he says.

The Bay Area has millions of people in it.

But today it didn’t feel that way.

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