Nate and I altered our usual neighborhood jog on Tuesday so that we first stopped by our local polling place to vote. Our civic duty successfully carried out, we stopped outside on the sidewalk to stretch. As we readied our hamstrings for some exertion, a mother walked by with her two little girls. One of them, about elbow-height-age walked over to Nate, sized him up, and found him only minimally interesting.
She then walked over and stood right in front of me. The girl looked up from under a polarfleece purple hat and smiled. I smiled back.
"Hi." I said, assuming that she was waiting for an acknowledgment or a greeting before moving on down the street with her mom and sister.
Still she stood there, smiling, completely impressed with me for some reason.
"Hi" I said again and my pint-sized fan took a step closer. I almost asked her if there was something she wanted to ask me, so intently was she staring. My usual response to one of my students standing so expectantly but so mutely is, "Do you have a question?"
"Maybe it's my 'I voted!' sticker," I thought. She could have been particularly inspired by me not only having cast my ballot, but so proudly wearing my sticker.
Or perhaps she was drawn to me because of the teachery-ness I exude. Even in jogging clothes, maybe I just seem like someone who could help you find an equivalent fraction or who might tell you you've done a Good Job.
Then again the attraction might have been my outfit. Out of a coincidental abundance of orange-colored workout clothes, I was dressed in bright orange running pants and a vibrant orange sweatshirt. I sort of looked like candy.
Whatever the reason, this girl had decided she just loved a complete stranger. As I stood with my hands on my hips, fascinated by her fascination and wondering where, exactly, this child's mother had gone, she took another step toward me, puckered up her lips, and KISSED my ELBOW! A little girl on the street kissed my elbow!
She then just dashed off down the road to her mother.
At least she didn't talk to me. We all know you shouldn't talk to strangers.