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Aaron Johnson: Comin’ ’round!

For many years I was a runner. That was before the knee replacement surgery, the fifth on the same knee. During those years I made a practice of calmly calling out to the person in front of me before I passed them. “Comin’ ‘Round” was usually what I said. That warns the walker in front that they are about to be passed and prevents them from being shocked when I blew past at a blinding speed. Well, kinda.

Riding my bike I have always done the same thing. While most of my riding has been on the road, from time to time I find a perfect trail. Any biker will tell you that cars are the enemy of a good bike ride. Any chance to get off the road and on a paved path is a golden opportunity.

A few weeks ago I was riding on a path in Guntersville. The path is shared by walkers, runners, bikes, trikes, skate boarders, geese, ducks, and the occasional eagle. The path was sparsely populated that day and the day was a biker’s dream. Warm enough to make you sweat and cool enough to prevent death.

As I rode the path, and called out to the folks I was passing, I noticed a change. It is important to mention that it has been about five years since I was an avid rider. Things change. As I called out, nobody noticed.

I didn’t want their space on the path. I just wanted to warn them that I was about to pass and didn’t want to startle them. No matter how many I passed, not a single one acknowledged my passing. Not a single person waved, looked around, or shifted their gait.

Nothing.

At one point in the path, near the end of my ride, I passed the final person that day. It was a lady who was in a death march somewhere. She was focused and alone on the only stretch of the path that is not heavily used.

As was my custom, I called out “comin’ round” and she, like the rest did nothing; until I passed. As my person passed her, she gave birth.

Not literally mind you; figuratively. She lost her mind. She screamed, flailed her arms and made a move that I thought was anatomically impossible.

At that point my speed is pretty fast and she is becoming aware of the situation. I didn’t dare stop.

What would she have thought?

I finished my ride and she finished her walk, or was raptured. I felt badly, she was probably
embarrassed, and we both regretted the event.

What happened? Why had all those people ignored my call?

After finishing my ride, I sat and cooled down a bit. Then it dawned on me. Every person walking the path had little white plastic things dangling from each ear! They were unaware of their surroundings because they were listening to music, a podcast, or on a phone call.

A lot has changed in five years.

We are distracted.

Drivers are killing people on roadways because they are too distracted with phones and other devices. Earlier this week, I saw the driver of a semi-truck and trailer texting while driving. What is more important than being in the moment?

Is life so boring that we need a distraction from enjoying life?

Do surgeons perform operations while listening to AC/DC? Does the airline pilot sing karaoke while landing a 747 in a severe cross wind?

Come to think of it, I may have had both that surgeon and pilot.

Let me invite you to become aware of the life that is surrounding us. This moment in life is all we have, the next is only a hope and the last is only a memory.

Enjoy the music, sing the songs, listen to the podcasts, but don’t sacrifice the sacred moment we have.

Carpe Diem my friend! And enjoy the moment.

Aaron Johnson is a contributing writer for Yellowhammer News. He is pastor of Christ Redeemer Church in Guntersville.

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