About 45 minutes ago I was walking home from work. I was taking the long way that cuts through the park, and via the modern miracle of podcasting, Bob Boilen was whispering the names of musicians into my ear.
A pack of high school boys ... straight ahead. We weren't exactly on a collision course. We could have passed each other without any contact at all, but I knew that wouldn't happen. They all waved and shouted, "Hello! So nice to meet you!" I half smiled and gave them a nod without removing my hands from my pockets. Just another Thursday evening - cutting through the park.
But the unprecedented followed. One of the high school boys broke away from the pack. He was wearing skinny jeans cuffed a few inches above his ankles, and his bowl haircut grazed his eyelids. It's a look that seemed to deserve mockery, but at the same time proclaimed, "You can laugh at me if you want, but you'll be wearing the same thing next year and trying to convince your friends that you were the first to wear it."
He stepped up to me and stopped directly in my path, forcing me to stop also. We stood there for a moment that must have been much briefer than it seemed, my exposed pedicure inches away from his vans. A smile spread across his face and he raised a single hand palm forward, reminiscent of a Vulcan well-wishing, and said, "High five."
A cheer burst out of his crowd when our palms met, as though he'd just scored a winning goal. I smiled. He rejoined his crowd and I put my hand back in my pocket, and I smiled. I smiled. I smiled. And I walked home.