Photo by Lorri Nussbaum

Being a creature of habit, I often walk the same route around my neighborhood. (This picture is not my neighborhood, but wouldn’t it be nice if it were!) I smile hello to the occasional dog walker or stroller pusher. On a nice summer evening, a couple of little girls on their bikes like to shag down pedestrians with their friendliness, and I let them suck me in. Emma and Madison.

But mostly I’m in my own head. I’m thinking. I’m praying. I’m listening to an audio book. I’m pondering the dialogue of my characters. I’m humming the latest tune etched in my brain. It adds up the same. I’m in my own head.

Last year the couple at one corner were having a garage sale and they had some nice chairs out. As it happened, I was looking for a good deal on chairs for my kitchen. But it had to be a really good deal, or I could not afford to indulge.

I asked the price. I thought maybe she left out a zero. Really? It was an amazing deal.

But when I walk, I don’t carry cash. And I didn’t have sufficient cash at home, even though it was hardly anything. I asked whether she would take a check.

She said, “Sure. We know who you are.”

Really? Even though they lived several blocks away and we had never spoken, she knew exactly which house was mine.

More recently I was looking for some cheap props for a workshop I was leading. Let’s just say it involved preschoolers and dress-up. Another family with a pile of kids was having a garage sale down the street. I stopped in and mentioned what I was looking for. The mom said, “We see you walking all the time.” Several faces of the underage variety nodded at me, brown eyes wide.

Well. I certainly could not have picked any of them out of a line up to save my life.

I’ve had a couple other similar encounters. It surprises me every time, because I’m an introvert in my own head just out for my walk and minding my own business. I don’t figure anyone is paying attention to me.

When people let me know they recognize me, it’s a good thing. It’s good to be seen. It’s good to be noticed. It’s good to be connected, even at that introductory level. I leave with a smile on my face. Maybe I’ll try to pay a little more attention and put a smile on someone else’s face.

• What’s the most unusual place where you felt noticed and encouraged?