The figure moved along the walking path with a slowness that was almost painful. Dark skinned and aged, she leaned against a walker that helped her stay upright but provided no other assistance in mobility. She wore a long shirt and one could see that, beneath it, she wore a pair of men’s work pants. She also wore men’s work shoes, slit down each side. I was on a bench reading a book and tried not to notice her as she drew near. No luck. Reaching me, she spun her walker around and steadied herself as she sat down beside me.
I kept reading. She poked me in the side. “You white folks shore don’t like us, do you?”
“Excuse me?” I managed in the form of a question. I made sure anyone listening knew I was insulted.
“People who have to walk places,” she said.
“What do you mean?”
“You just treat us like domesticated canines.”
It dawned on me. It was C.W. “What are you doing?” I said.
“Resting from what?” I asked.
“From going to and fro in the earth, and from walking up and down in it.,” he said.
“Give me a break,” I said.
“I thought you white folks didn’t like colored people, like your president,” he said. “But you really, really, really, don’t like folks who have to walk places.”
“Don’t talk like that,” I said.
“I’m sorry. I mean pedestrians.”
“I’m talking about what you call people,” I said.
“What do you call them?”
“Just people,” I said.
“Tell you what,” he said.
“Why don’t you come go walking with me?”
“Sorry, I’m busy right now.” I held up my book.
“Crossing streets given over to homicidal maniacs in personal vehicles.”
“No,” I said. “I do it all the time.”
“How long you been walking?”
“Since I was two or so.”
“No, I mean your species.”
If you count our closest relatives, more than five million years or so, as I understand it.”
“And how long you been driving cars?”
“A little over a hundred years.”
“Don’t make no sense to me.”
I made a show of returning to my book.
“You like to read?”
“Very much,” I said. He didn’t take the hint.
“Do all members of your species read?”
“No, only a small percentage of them bother.”