If I close my eyes the evening twenty years ago is as fresh as the coffee that sits beside me. I can feel the early evening fog wrapping itself around Coit Tower in San Francisco. I wasn’t wearing a jacket; the breeze was cold, heavy and wet. We had just finished a meal with friends at a small Italian restaurant. The pasta, salad, conversation, topped off by a cappuccino and dessert, filled each with more than they ever thought they needed.
As we lingered in front, chatting incessantly, not wanting the evening to end two men walked towards us catching my attention. I do not recall anything about their attire that stood out, but their stride; they walked and oozed confidence! Everything about them screamed “I am in charge” and “I know exactly who I am and where I am going”. Nothing was going to touch these two!
As they continued up the steep San Francisco hill I wondered and imagined what their lives were like. Where did they come from? Were they old classmates or new friends? Did they work in the financial district or in a creative role?
For a few steps I could see myself walking in their shoes. I envied what I saw. Hope, confidence, and progress wrapped up in someone young, hip, and on the move. I could be or maybe already was walking in their shoes!
I paused and glanced up the hill and could see it coming. I wondered if I should shout a warning but my mind refused to engage. The pair took another four hard strides up the steep incline. On the next stride the one of the right walked hard, cheek to flat metal, into a parking sign cemented firmly into the sidewalk.
The slap of head to metal sounded much like a shot-gun! I wasn’t sure if he was going to remain standing. The stagger almost took him to the ground, the dizziness was visibly apparent.
“A prudent person sees trouble and ducks; a simpleton walks in blindly and is clobbered.” (Proverbs 22.3)