Before I rode yesterday, I walked my dog as I do most mornings, through a local nature preserve. It’s more of an amble than a walk. He stops to sniff the sniffs that capture him, and I use my lens to capture what I call, the smalls — insects, flowers, and the like. Together, we walk a mile and a half.
Yesterday morning, as we approached the halfway point, I could see a man and a woman walking toward us. They were maybe 60 or 70 yards away. The woman was small in stature, though that image may have been distorted due to the size of the man she was walking beside. He was tall, maybe 6’2” or 6’3” and looked to weigh in excess of 400 lbs.
My dog, a chihuahua/dachshund mix, walks off-leash and weighs just over 7 pounds. Generally, he walks 10-yards or so ahead of me. If he sees people approaching us, he might get a little bit further ahead — he anticipates either praise, a treat, or both.
As my dog’s pace increased and he approached the two people headed in our direction, the large man put his hands up over his ears and begin making unintelligible noises. He then hid behind the small woman beside him. It only took a moment for me to realize that the man was developmentally disabled. He was afraid of my dog.
Realizing this, I scooped my dog up with one hand and veered away from them a few steps. As we passed them though, I wished them a good morning and continued walking. With my dog in my hand and with me veering away, the large man began to ask me questions about my dog. His speech was difficult to understand, but I got it figured out. He wanted you to know my dog’s name and how old he is.
I explained that his name is Stroodle and that he’s 15-years old. The man giggled, in the same way a toddler might. I explained that he’s a very friendly dog the man giggled more. I offered to let him pet Stroodle, but he declined. I wished he and the woman beside him a good day and continued on. As we walked away, I heard his feet shuffling in the dirt on the trail. I looked back over my shoulder and saw him running like a child at recess. There was a purity to him that I wish I could know.
Home from my walk, my workday began. I earn my keep as a fitness trainer. I have a studio adjoined to my house where people come and I help them exercise. My first client yesterday was also a special-needs person. I’ll call her Anna, though that’s not her real name.
Anna is almost 32-years old and she’ll be in the custody of her mother and father as long as they are able to take care of. She’s a beautiful person and one of the most pure human beings I’ve ever known. She has the innocence of a child, the sense of humor for teenager, and she lives in the body of a small adult.
As part of her exercise session, I take Anna for walks around my neighborhood. We make small talk while we walk and I make jokes that I can’t get away with making around other clients. In one section of our walk, where there is no sidewalk, no marked shoulder to the road, and where cars come flying by, I hold Anna’s hand for 20 or 30 yards so that she feels safe — so I feel that she’s safe.
When this happens, and I can’t explain why, but when my hand makes contact with hers, I feel that sense purity that I long for but don’t otherwise know. I felt that same sensation earlier in the morning when I offered to let the large man pet my dog. Walking and holding Anna’s hand, might be the most pure I feel all week long.
With the workday done and my daily ride still a couple hours into the future, I asked my elderly mother who lives with me, if she would like to get out of the house and spend time at a local thrift store that she frequents.
She always says yes.
The thrift store, in this case, is one that uses developmentally disabled people to help keep it clean and organized. Adjacent to the thrift store, is the training center where the same developmentally disabled people receive training and advocacy.
While mom is in the thrift store, I remain in the car and reply to emails, text messages, and I return phone calls. Occasionally, I take a nap. Mom usually spends an hour or so in there. As I sit in the car staring into my phone, every couple of minutes or so I look up and see some of the special-needs people walking from the thrift shop into the advocacy office, and vice versa.
There’s one young man there, maybe in his mid-20s, that I’ve seen daily for the three years we’ve been doing this. He appears to be the lead helper in the thrift store. He and I have never spoken.
Yesterday, from nowhere, he stood beside my car, reached into the window to shake my hand, and said hello to me. He was smiling from ear to ear. He had a soft handshake and a very friendly voice. I asked him how his day was going. He told me they were very busy. He then waved at me like a child, told me to have a good day, and resumed his job of organizing the sidewalk merchandise.
My day wasn’t half through, and I already had several encounters with Special-needs people. I don’t like that term — special-needs. I don’t like developmentally disabled either.
So as I enjoyed my ride, taking in the scenery, embracing the hills, and contemplating life, I spent a fair bit of time thinking about my three experiences prior to my ride — three experiences with people pure of soul and pure of heart. And that’s when it hit me — they are not developmentally disabled nor are they special-needs. These are the POSH People: Pure Of Soul and Heart.
I like that, POSH People. We should all be so POSH.
This is what I think about when I ride… Jhciacb
This Week By The Numbers…
Bikes ridden: 5
15.1 mph avg
Whether you ride a bike or not, thank you for taking the time to ride along with me today. If you haven’t already, please scroll up and subscribe. If you like what you read, give it a like and a share. If not, just keep scrollin’. Oh, and there is this from Rick Danko. Enjoy…!