T-shirts and crossed paths: A short (and yet somehow rambling) anecdote

April 9, 2018

By Matthew E. Milliken
April 9, 2018

Author’s note: In the course of a rather prolific month of blogging in February, I put up 14 posts. Unfortunately, my output in March fell to just six posts. In an effort to compensate, I’m going to try to do a few shorter items in April. MEM

One sunny, warm weekday afternoon in 2017, I took a long walk.

I don’t remember if this was in March or June or September. I only generally remember the course I took; it involved heading north from my residence, crossing Interstate 85 and meandering in what I sort of jokingly think of as boreal territory.

What really matters is my return home. When I’d put in about five miles, I came back south on Broad and took the shortcut that I use to get to my residence that bypasses the busy intersection of Broad and Guess Road and minimizes my exposure to the heavily trafficked Guess.

But! Before I get to the actual story in my story, it’s important to note what I was wearing. As friends, relatives and close readers of the blog know:

• I have family in Colorado; and

• when my Parental Unit visits said family, I often will dog-sit for said parent; and

• said parent will thank/reward me by bringing me at least one T-shirt from Colorado.

There are two varieties of these T-shirts. The first variety, of which I currently possess two, marks a visit to a specific attraction in the state. The second variety always says Colorado; for some reason, they’re never labeled Denver or Boulder or any specific community in the state. (That said, my Colorado-residing residents have given me a grey T-shirt labeled Durango.)

I’m not sure if I still have it, but one of the very first Colorado T-shirts given to me by my Parental Unit was a very nice navy garment of the second variety. This shirt stood out because of the way it which it presented the state name: In the form of tackle-twill letters such as you might see on a high-end sports jersey.

At any rate: It was this Colorado shirt I wore on the aforementioned undetermined-and-yet-somewhat-memorable day.

As I approached the end of my walk, more or less across the street from where I live, I came upon a man who appeared to be in his 50s. He was behind the wheel of a station wagon that was either filled with stuff and/or hitched to a U-Haul trailer.

His window was rolled down. As I was about to pass by, he asked me “Are you from Colorado?” or something similar.

I explained (in less detail than appears above) that I wasn’t, but that I had family there and I liked the state.

He told me that he was about to drive to Colorado.

I smiled and wished him well and reiterated that it was a great place.

That was pretty much the extent of our conversation, but it came to mind the other day. How did that guy’s trip go? Is he still in Colorado, or has he moved on? Does he think about the happenstance of crossing paths with someone in a Colorado T-shirt right at the moment he was going to leave Durham for the Centennial State?

I suppose I’ll never know, but it’s one of those coincidences that I find so fascinating.

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