The mountains and city trails in Santa Fe were closed for almost two months due to fires, drought, and high wind. Since I need to hike three times a week, all that was left was a 4-5 mile walk around where I live. As roads go, it’s not bad, winding up and down, with well-designed houses, lots of trees, shrubs, and flowers providing pleasant vistas. There are enough hills that I get somewhat of a workout, but it doesn’t lift my spirit the way hiking in nature does. If I go after nine and before four, there’s not much traffic—just a lot of parked contractors’ trucks.
Given that the road is free of rocks, stumps, roots, and drops, it’s all too easy for me to space out as I walk, deep in thought, although when another walker says hello, I respond, and then can’t remember what I was thinking about. It’s almost as if I’m transported into a different space and time,
I recognize that my “spacing out” is nothing new. I think it’s a habit I developed as a coping mechanism during a childhood filled with abuse and violence. The problem is, I don’t have control over when I space out. If my sensory system is overloaded, it’s not uncommon for me to bump into someone or something. Overwhelmed by embarrassment, all I can do is apologize.
One day, I was walking, deep in thought, when I heard a man’s voice yell, “Cuidado! Cuidado! Careful!” I looked up and found myself about two inches from a white truck where a man was standing in the bed, his arms out, ready to catch me before I bumped into the back of it.
Shaking his head, he said, “I was watching you walk right toward my truck. I couldn’t believe you didn’t stop and see it.” I couldn’t believe I didn’t see it either.
Shaken, I thanked him for watching out for me. We talked for a few minutes. He was obviously upset. Almost every sentence he spoke was punctuated with references to how I’d almost walked into his truck. “I couldn’t believe you didn’t see my truck. You just kept walking like a blind person. You coulda got hurt.” He was right.
I was too embarrassed to tell him it wasn’t the first time I came so close to walking into a parked truck or a person on a trail or a shopping cart. I also knew it wouldn’t be the last time I’d space out, despite telling myself I need to pay attention. Thank goodness for kind people.
Have you ever spaced out and found yourself in a peculiar situation? What was it like for you?
Life tales from a woman different living in The City Different.