In this view from the high school's back parking lot, a late-winter miracle has occurred. After enduring darkness for the past few months, I can once again enjoy the sun n the sky at walk time!!
a) I live smack dab in the middle of a neighborhood full of young families, and
b) there's a giant high school just down the street
it stands to reason that:
c) I come across a lot of teenagers when Ranger and I do our daily walks.
d) I am a huge fan of teens, in all their awkward, dramatic, posturing glory,
I totally enjoy these momentary encounters. Interestingly, I've noticed that they tend to fall into three specific categories.
Groups of Gushing Girls
It's a rare thing to encounter a solo teenage girl. No, girls prefer to travel in cozy, sociable groups of three or four, and are typically seen long before they are heard. Chattering over the top of each other, laughing nonstop, they are invariably caught up in their own conversation as they come into view of me.
And then their attention shifts.
"Oh my goshhhhhh!"
"Your dog is so cuteeeee."
"Can we pet him?"
Yep. Of course you can.
Ranger and I are only too pleased to stop for some dog lovin' and he plays each of these situations to his cheeky advantage. My boy trots out his most dapper Irish gentlemanly charm, and greets the ladies with just the right amount of enthusiasm and tail-wagging.
The girls invariably swoon.
Batches of Boisterous Boys
Whenever I cross paths with multiple boys, two things are generally true.
One of the boys is usually carrying a skateboard or a longboard, or riding slowly alongside the group on a bike, which leads me to presume that these entourages have spontaneously come together; I imagine that the guys simply bumped into each other on the street, and are now pursuing adventure as a team. There's a mischievous innocence and friendliness about them that I adore.
Secondly, one of the boys always - and yes, I mean always - observes to me, "Wow! That sure is a long leash!"
Yep. So true.
(Ranger benefits from my generosity in the leash department, and by securing him with a 25-foot lead, he gets maximum wandering capacity while we walk.)
I can't help but smile as I agree.
Older teenage boys leave safety of the pack and cruise the streets alone. As I draw near to them, I notice the hint of stubble on their chins, the ubiquitous earbuds, their eyes focused anywhere but on me. Solitary creatures they are, and wanting mostly to be left alone.
But here is the special thing about Lone Wolves, Just as we pass each other, at the very last minute, they suddenly direct their gaze to me, and slowly, slightly, almost imperceptibly, nod.
Yep. Just a simple, singular nod.
As calmly and quietly as I can, I nod back.
And those are my favorite teenage encounters of all.