i was walking my dogs at a park in 4S when suddenly, all these cars showed up and parked at the SAME TIME. All these people came out of the cars, different ages and ethnicities. Our path was going to cross theirs just as everyone huddled around a trashcan. No one seemed to be talking to each other but everyone was looking at their phones. I had been listening to an audiobook but took out an earplug so I could eavesdrop and get a clue about what was happening. When I did, no one said a word.

We continued our walk, with many delays (Gladwell has super short legs and has a hard time getting up and off curbs… I lead him to the wheelchair drop in the sidewalk, now) and eventually looped back around to the mysterious trash can gang.

One white dude in a button up shirt and slacks began walking away from the trash can and was returning to his car. On his way, he smiled at Gladwell. This was a person I could talk to.

“Hey, what’s going on over there?” I asked.

“Oh, Pokemon Go,” he said. I couldn’t help but laugh.

“Oh! That’s still a thing?” Immediately regretted my word choice…and tone…. and asking in general.

“Yeah….” said the stranger. “Unfortunately, I guess it is!”

So I laughed again. “No, that’s good. That’s cool, sounds fun,” I said, looking back at the trash can gang that was dispersing and returning to their cars.

It really was sort of magical. I liked that strangers could be standing so close to other strangers on the same mission as them and still not say a word to each other. That’s a special kind of social isolation.

Finally told my parents about Gladwell. Mom automatically said, “I’m not taking care of any more dogs, VANESSA.”

Allright, allright… calm down mama.

Dad thought it was cool I got another dog.

“Are you lonely? Is that it?” Mt mom tried again to understand why her daughter grew up to be a dog collector.

On our walk today, Coppola fell into a Coppola-sized man hole in the park’s landscape. Something for irrigation it looked like. I laughed to hard to be able to help him. He got himself out and I swear to you he huffed at me.