I was just trying to be nice.

My green eyes dilated with my mouth hung open, I looked down at the middle aged man throbbing in pain on the warm cement that comprises the C470 bike trail.

Groans escaped his throat and my first thought was…oh crap.

I had been riding the 5 or 6 miles home on my bike from work when I glanced out to the western horizon and observed a picturesque sky of gold and blue, trimmed with the purple fall mountain peaks and the browns of trees and fields along the front range.

Upon absorbing this distraction of beauty, I can embarrassingly admit that I thought, “I’m going to take a picture on my phone!” I braked on the outer part of the path, met the soles of my feet to the ground for balance, and instants later had a cyclist hit me at around 20 MPH from behind. Seconds lingered and then he was flying over the handlebars, head first, as his bike landed 10 feet away, mangled and broken. Oops.

A sweet man, he eventually arose and though shaken, appeared relatively intact. “I’ll have to get my wife to pick me up…” I attempted an onslaught of apologies, monetary severance, and rides homes. He simply and repeatedly assured me, “It’s okay. Don’t worry. It’s okay.”


Strange things seem to just happen – not in isolation.

On another green belt and walking path near my mom’s home further East, I approached a man from behind who was walking his dog while I was on my Sunday afternoon run. I blurted out “good morning” and when I realized I should have uttered “good afternoon” I did so, but a little louder than my first greeting. I was speaking over my IPOD, you know, and if I recall correctly, the man had headphones in his ear buds as well. No sooner had I jogged by than the white standard poodle was on its hind legs, aggressively trying to pin me down and finally biting me in the side of my stomach. Ouch.

So much for pleasantries.


Oh, and a few weeks ago, I went to this concert. I can say your classic “all’s well that ends well” and it certainly was fantastic as the weather still shined up on the edge of the Rocky Mountains and we had the chance to dance the night away to chill rock music with thousands of others.

It started oddly though. Surprising, you might say.

I invited a girl that I thought was someone else.

You read that right.

Recalling a day spent jet skiing at the reservoir back in the late summer, I thought of a girl from the church group that I had connected well with. We spent a good chunk of time at a picnic table, chatting about Arkansas, and what it’s like to move to new places. She needs a friend, I thought to myself, and so I called her, told her about the concert, and just like that, she was coming. Yet, when we met at a neutral site and she approached my red Honda for a ride, I nervously laughed and started scanning my brain for what was happening…who was this?


It’s a girl by the same name that I had met at another event – this one from a recent food festival.

Um. Okay…?

We had fun. Especially considering I had anticipated someone entirely different.


I could write more about the Trader Joe’s checker who go the wrong idea when I had him help me fill my groceries in my worn backpack as I was biking back home, or the stilted conversation I recently had with a homeless woman near Capitol Hill. I could even launch a plethora of details about how the isolated encounter with one person at church led to a string of misconstrued ideas, texts, and intentions. You give an inch, they take a mile.

The point is, I am realizing, the more open you are to people, the funnier things that arise.

They just…happen. Both good and bad.

A touch of naiveté and a bigger helping of good intentions, I was just trying to be nice.


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Heather Newell Oglesby

Hi! I'm Heather. I am a writer and counselor in-training. I share stories so we can keep the magic of being human alive. I spend a great deal of time going on long walks with my wife, rollerblading, learning, and traveling to find new adventures. By day, I work as an Education and Employment Specialist for Jefferson Center for Mental Health, working with adolescents who have experienced their first episode of psychosis. A Colorado native, I love dark-roasted coffee, sunshine, and succulents. Enthusiasm, passion, and possibility: that's me at my best.

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