I realized something funny when I was taking a walk while doing laundry this afternoon: When someone approached, I caught myself looking for a passing place.
I haven't thought much about passing places since I was 12 and traveling in Scotland with my family, meeting Dad's cousins and seeing part of the country. Especially in the west, as we tried to get to the Isle of Skye, the roads were very lightly traveled and only one lane wide. We stuck out the trip -- as long as our car did, which is another story -- because Dad's ancestors in Clan MacDonald were (still are, I think) headquartered in Skye, and not least because he'd sung me to sleep with "The Skye Boat Song" --
"Speed, bonnie boat, like a bird on the wing,
'Onward!' the sailors cry;
Carry the lad who's born to be king
Over the sea to Skye."
As we traveled over the one-lane roads, we saw that sometimes, there were wide spots in the roads big enough to pull the car into. Dad did that sometimes. His cousins had told them about these spots, passing places. When he saw, or suspected, that another car was coming, the best thing to do was to pull into the passing place so that the oncoming car had time and room to get past us.
Did I mention that Mom preferred the Scottish towns and cities to out in the country?
Well, we all got used to passing places to some degree, as long as we needed them, and they faded from my memory.
Then came social distancing.
Now, as I see someone approaching on the sidewalk, I look for a doorway, a path through a lawn, or a driveway and step a few yards into it. Today, it came to me what I was doing: I was pulling into a passing place for my neighbors to get by.
Margaret Serious has a page on Facebook.
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