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August 5th, 2018

a treasured non-friend

[personal profile] osprey_archer has talked about how we need to have more gradations in how we refer to people than just "acquaintance" and "friend" (and then piling on the adjectives to explain how close a friend the friend is, or how distant the acquaintance is). I'd like also a word for a person you don't even know at all, but who you see often and whose existence brings you joy--

--like this older woman I often see walking around the time I'm finishing up a morning run, or sometimes on weekends if I'm doing stuff in my front yard, she may walk by. Her face says her heritage is something East Asian, and there's some air about her that makes me think she's doesn't speak much English, if any. Maybe it's her clothes, which seem to come from elsewhere (I can't describe why I think this--I'd need to look more closely--but they're not what you see on American sixty- and seventy-year-old women) or maybe it's her hairstyle (and again, I'm not sure I can recall it precisely: maybe parted in the middle and pulled back in a bun?), or maybe it's that what we do when we see each other is smile and nod, or sometimes, if we're on opposite sides of the street, I'll wave, and she'll wave back. We've never spoken a word to each other. (For all I know, she thinks of *me* as a non-English speaker)

Today I have the care of my neighbor's dog, so just now I took him for a walk around a housing development that's going up across the way from my neighborhood. There's one paved loop, and then a dirt-and-gravel road leading to ongoing roadworks and other excavations, and on either side of that, piles of stone and discarded water pipes and wildflowers: right now, mainly queen anne's lace, St. John's wort, and black-eyed susans. I'd completed three quarters of the loop and had my back to the dirt-and-gravel road, and heard a sound, like a tune coming from a radio somewhere, like maybe some of the workmen had a radio on--but it's Sunday evening, and there are no workmen out.

I looked back, and I saw the woman sitting on something--maybe a concrete slab or a big rock--surrounded by wildflowers, some way down that dirt-and-gravel road, just sitting, enjoying the evening. And maybe singing? Maybe it was her. Or maybe it was someone else's radio, somewhere. Anyway, I waved; she waved.

It made me so happy. I'd like a word for a person like this. Special fellow-traveler in the non-Communist sense of the word.

This entry was originally posted at https://asakiyume.dreamwidth.org/890818.html. Comments are welcome at either location.

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