I missed my regular post on Friday. I’ve had an erratic couple of weeks, with some travel for work, and a child care dilemma that has resulted in our whole household’s being off-track for a few days. This has also meant the death of my carefully calibrated running schedule, which allows me, if you’ll recall, a regular run-in with Dalmatian Dudes. So, for two weeks, I didn’t see these guys, despite their being a near-daily part of my lake front scenery for the past several years.
BUT! All that changed when Sunday I was able to squeeze in a (slow, unsatisfactory) 12-miler. I was a mile in when I saw them: Dalmatian Dudes. I seized the opportunity to a) introduce myself and b) take a break, knowing already that my run was going to be a dud.
I charged toward them: two middle-aged guys and their three pretty pups. As I took my earbuds out of my ears, one of the dogs began barking a self-conscious, not even remotely ferocious bark. I smiled, baring my scary human teeth, and one of the as-yet-nameless gentlemen shushed the beast. (As I type this post, I’m reading it aloud to S, and it seems in so doing I am taking a dramatic turn!)
“Hi!” I hollered, probably too brightly, my Partie Traumatic still ringing in my ears. “Can I stop you guys for a second?”
I won’t bore you with the details of our conversation, but will give you the bullets:
1) They’re David and Don (the dudes, not the dogs).
2) The dogs, three of them, are 3, 6, and 9 years old.
a. So I was correct in my rememberance that I’ve seen the little one, at least, since his dotless pup days.
b. This is the second generation of Dalmatians they’ve raised in Hyde Park.
3) David and Don have been Hyde Parkers since 1999.
They’re pleasant guys (you’d have to be, to be smiling when assaulted on your morning walk by an overly cheerful runner coming straight at you from the wrong side of the path) and the dogs, despite the initial barking, seem well-mannered and are quite something up close.
To be sure, the social experiment – introducing myself to someone I see regularly – was worthwhile. It’s remarkable how simply saying hello and learning the names of your neighbors can serve to make the neighborhood seem even smaller. I’ll be doing this again and I invite you to join me – and, if you see me on the path, or the sidewalks, or in the grocery store, I hope you’ll make a point to introduce yourself.
It’s a beautiful day to be neighbors.
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