I took off jogging and walking across San Francisco’s hilly city last Wednesday, going from my hotel to Pier 39 where I wanted to see again all the sea lions that gather there. Then I walked to Fisherman’s Wharf, enjoying some Ben & Jerry’s Cherry Garcia along the way.
While walking, I came across a man dressed in a dog suit seated with his three dogs. Many passersby were intrigued. Whenever someone snapped a photo, he held out a hat and asked for a donation. A few people would drop a dollar in – some would not.
As someone who wears a bee costume at work occasionally, I appreciate the courage of anyone willing to wear a dog costume in public. So after taking a picture of him with his dogs, I reached in my wallet and pulled out $5 to throw in the hat. Another $1 half fell out, so I threw that in as well.
The man said “Oh, I love you!” since he normally only gets ones. Then he said, “Since you were so generous, do you want me to take a picture of you with my dogs? “Sure,” I said, so he introduced me to Edie, Daisy and Pickles. I sat on the bench and put my arms around the dogs while the man took several pictures with my phone. Pickles was mostly interested in my ice cream, but who can blame her? I let her lick the outside of my cup where some drips were running.
It was a simple, friendly moment with a stranger I will never see again. Yet, it was one of my fondest memories of this trip. Dog-man was happy. I was happy. Pickles was happy. Dog-man had $6 he didn’t have before we met and I had a moment with my favorite non-human species that I really miss when I’m traveling away from my dog.
The encounter won’t change any of our lives, but it made that present tense better than if I had just walked on by the man.
Life is a long series of present tense moments, which leads me to leap year lesson #241 – Make the present good and you will rarely regret the past.