You might be surprised at the things and people the SconeLady comes across, along the way. Almost nothing can surprise me anymore. Most especially, once I become established in a neighborhood the people there wonder, quite a bit. They wonder why that lady is out there walking - and walking - and then again, walking. They are puzzled. Where is she going? What is she doing? Doesn't she work? And so on.
I know this, because they approach me on a daily basis. Friendly smiles, mostly. And then, hesitantly, "Who ARE you?"
The questions depend upon the city, the town, or the state. Walking in England is interesting in its variety of responses because you really never know what they are assuming about you. I wore a bright yellow jacket with black accents (you've seen a million of these on bikers over here) and hiking boots. I carried a sheaf of papers, a cell phone, and a large map. It seemed odd how many people would stop and ask me for directions. As soon as I spoke, they would be surprised at the accent, and realize I was as completely CLUELESS as they were.
At last I found out why this was happening when a man said, "Oh - we thought you were the Surveyor!" It was the jacket. The boots. The map. The cell phone. It must have looked 'official', and I found this to be rather an asset. It seemed safer, somehow, than a lone woman wandering haplessly about along the paddocks of Gloucestershire.
In Southern California the questions will be decidedly different. "Ma'am? Do you want to buy some of these pain killers?" or the strange exclamations of the man who admired my 'fine, big calves', and went on and on about them to everyone around him. Talk about clueless.
In all states and nations, my favorite curious passersby are the dogs. Friendly, all. It clearly does not matter what accent you speak in or what language. Their eyes are all on you and their noses want to be. They strain at their master's leash and edge near and yet nearer, hoping for - I can't really say. Many of their masters simply stop, make them sit, and wait for me to pass. It isn't worth all the yanking.
In Oregon I find myself spoken to by a goodly number of State Policemen. They are not suspicious, waving arrest warrants or potential tickets. No. They want to know, "Are you stranded? Lost? May we help you, Ma'am?" I am pleased, and explain that, no, I am not lost or stranded or in need. I am just - walking down the road. It is so nice of them to be concerned. I do not think this would happen in somewhere like, say, SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA. They wouldn't have time. I am literally shocked by the fact that policemen here will actually stop and check.
I, however, must compliment Southern California on one noticeable element of my walking, there. It may be an asphalt jungle, but I am confident of this - I am unlikely to run into any:
Walking 10 miles a day, admittedly, isn't for wimps. But it sure is fun. Who knows? Maybe we'll run into each other one of these days. Keep your eyes peeled - I'm the one with the purple umbrella! You can't miss me.
See you along the way!