I ran a hill track most Tuesday mornings before work last year and started to see the same guy around the same time, walking up the hill. Stripy hat, backpack, brisk pace.
After a few weeks I shouted a cheery hello as I ran past up the track.
“HELLO! You must have the same Tuesday routine as me, haha!”
“Oh, I’m here every day <mumble, mumble, mumble>” he replied, his voice trailing off as I carried on running.
“Ah how WONDERFUL!” I shouted as I left him behind.
How nice, I thought to myself, to be able to walk this track every morning.
After a few minutes something niggled at me. What did he mumble? I had a strange feeling that whatever it was, it maybe wasn’t viewed as wonderful.
On the way back down I stopped when I passed him again.
“Sorry, I didn’t quite catch what you said back there when I was passing. I think I shouted wonderful at you which might have been weirdly out of context?”
“Oh, yeah, I said that I have a concussion and it’s the only exercise I’m able to do at the moment.”
“Ah.” This was awkward. “Yeah, that doesn’t sound wonderful.”
He laughed. “No”.
We got chatting, turns out he’s an adventure and endurance racer and so we talked about the marathon I was training for, running long distances and such. I mentioned the desert ultramarathon that I’d just done when all of a sudden he stopped me mid conversation.
“Hang on, are you Tara?”
“Errrr yes. How do you know that?” I’d not long been in New Zealand and didn’t know that many people.
“I’m a friend of B’s. I’m Aaron.”
“Ohhhhh!” I squeaked. “I know you! You’re HEAD INJURY GUY!”
The look on his face made me realise he might not appreciate this nickname I’d given him. I tried to do a very British apologetic turn around.
“Oh! Well. That’s not what I call you. Errr, what I mean is.. That’s not what B says. I…. Erm, well, I just know of you too. Anyhooooo. Nice weather this morning isn’t it?”
“So. Got to go, lovely chatting to you, maybe see you next Tuesday, same time, you know, because we have the same routine, hahaha! BYE.”
I legged it out of there.