When I am running/walking in the park, I wear sunglasses. Even if it is cloudy. Too many of my patients walk there, too. Sometimes they still recognize me (perhaps it is the hair) but usually that is when they have passed me going the other direction. I will hear a whispered gasp or, “That’s my doctor!” behind my shoulder.
I keep going.
I also wear earbuds so I can pretend not to hear. Not that I actually play anything through them.
I like the silence.
One of my pet peeves is people on the trail chatting away on their cell phones about nonsense OR those who play their music loudly from arm bands…
It is never a catchy, inspiring tune. Oh, no. It has to be acid rock. You can listen to acid rock. Just wear ear buds. I hate your music. Probably the deer and rabbits don’t like it either. And this is just supposition here, but they probably also don’t want to hear about your young nephew’s birthday party. I always think that it says something about someone’s character, their disregard for other people on the trail, when they behave that way.
The other day a woman was coming at me chatting loudly into her phone. I was thinking terrible thoughts about her, I admit. Seething, in fact. When I got close enough (my eyesight is not what it used to be) I realized she was my patient.
And you know what? She is a super nice woman in that context. I have known her for eight years. I also took care of her husband until he died.
So I took that out and chewed on it for a while. I realized that for all of those negative feelings I felt, I still liked her, even though I know this about her now. Even nice people do inconsiderate things. They are still good people. It felt good to let go of that indignation.
It is easier to harshly judge those we do not know. It is even harder to remember that we only see small segments, snapshots, of other people’s lives. No one is entirely good or entirely bad. This includes me, myself.
Here I am in my forties learning more about people and more about myself…