Nov. 14, 2017
The Planet Fitness that I go to is about a half mile from my house. It's a cheap, "C quality" gym, but hey, it fits the budget and is within walking distance, so I'll take it. Normally, my walks to and from the gym are fairly quick. In the morning, it's normally chilly and I have work to get to, so my pace matches an Olympic speed walker. Nonetheless, things like intersections cause me to stop my lightning walk for the sake of not getting run over.
Today, as I waited for the crosswalk to become user-friendly again, a lady approached me waving her arms and looking flustered. Fantastic, I always, without fail, run into the Brooklyn weirdos. The traffic continued to fly by, so my new friend and I were stuck on the sidewalk together. She began to bring her voice down, telling me that she was so stressed and she needed to get back to Long Island and she was drunk (because I needed that clarification) and annoyed.
I decided that since the light was taking its dear sweet time turning in my favor, this was one of those conversations to lean into. So I interrupted her rambling and asked her why she was so stressed out.
"UM because I am drunk and I need to get to Long Island and I need $2. Can I PLEASE have two dollars?!"
I chuckled at her frustration for my lack of recollection for her previous *louder* ramble, but I had to break the news to her that I was coming from the gym and didn't have a cent on me. I pointed to my sweaty face and tangled ponytail for further proof of my honesty.
She smiled as she pointed towards the PF sign down the road, believing what I had to say. I suppose she assumed that, if the situation were different, I would have given her the $2 requested.
She then proceeded to tell me how she couldn't "run as fast as you white girls" because she smoked cigarettes.
I told her she really needed to stop smoking those, they are horrible for her health. Especially if she's already drinking a lot. Mental note: there is no need to lecture strangers on their health habits.
She nodded and rolled her eyes, "I know, I know, but I've just done it for so long now." She grinned at my nagging.
As the light finally changed, we were both smiling, walking across the road. I told her to have a good day and not to worry -- it would all work out. She thanked me, and went on her way.
Sure, 7 AM is a bit early for chats with neighborhood drunks, but everyone you run into is part of your story. Really, it's up to you to roll with it and make your interactions a positive part of their tale.