Last week I wrote about my Bay to Breakers experience and made some comments about a few participants. At the end of the race, or “footwalk” as I would call it, I was a bit in awe of some of the things I observed and amused by the guts certain people had to show up in their wildest dream attire, alter identities, or wannabe personalities. Or perhaps this was the opportunity for those people who cross our path everyday to reveal the true identity of what lies beneath the skin.
Throughout my daily walks around town there are a number of characters, some of them quite eccentric, who cross my path. It’s almost as if I have my own personal Bay to Breakers experience right here in my own neighborhood, a mixture of those who blend in with the normalcy of our small town and a few who stand out in the crowd, whether they know it or not. Note, I know none of these people personally and any resemblance to anyone you know is strictly accidental.
Half way down the block from my apartment, on my way to work, the smiley lady greets me. She is about my age and I swear I know her from somewhere but can’t quite place where. We each smile and mumble two words, “Good Morning.” On my way home from work, we cross brisk paths in exactly the same place, smile, and say, “Good Evening.”
Behind the smiley lady comes the coffee lady. She offers cheers with her coffee cup sending aromatic waves of caffeine my way and we both mouth “good morning.” She smiles. From her casual pace and calm appearance her CD player must be tuned to easy listening. Sometimes she walks silently with another women with headphones.
Stay at home Dad returns from walking Working Mommy to BART. His son has now cycled through the front pack, backpack and stroller stages to a toddling beside Dad stage.
Five young women, in color coordinated sweat suits, jog by immersed in candid conversation. I’ve heard bits of everything from kids to sex and sometimes feel a tinge of jealousy by their youthful enthusiasm.
The gas station guy nods his head and smiles as he races from pump to pump providing full service to all his customers. He’s there every day, seven days a week, from early morning well into the evening. I’ve never seen him sitting down. He wears the same sweater every day (hopefully he has two or three all the same).
The more eccentric appear around my noontime walk.
The blind man comes out of the pizza parlor just as I pass by on my way to the post office. He’s not hard to miss in his bright hot pink, turquoise and orange clothes and bright orange backpack. Reminds me of Waldo. He gets dropped off at one end of town in the early morning, and walks the entire downtown 2 mile strip from one end to the other and back every single day. A few months ago he disappeared. “Where’s Waldo,” I wondered. I searched for Waldo everyday. Rumors of his death were soon squelched when he reappeared a few days later, same route, nothing changed.
The orange vested parking lot cop sits on the bench in front of the drug store, arms crossed at chest level peering with beady eyes at all passers by, For some reason this guy really bugs the heck out of me. It could be the fact that the parking lot is usually half empty and his services seem unwarranted. It could be the remarks I’ve heard while he teases kids, asks people nosy questions about their medications, vacations, and even sex life. Most likely it’s that high pitched babbling voice that grates on me.
Outside the beauty supply shop stands the old beauty queen smoker. She smiles and greets people with her raspy chain smoker voice. Looking through the smoke I see a once very attractive lady, maintaining her beauty as best she can, gray hair in tidy little waves, stylish clothes and a model like stance.
On my way home I see the end of the day crowd.
The parking ticketmaster is busy writing tickets five minutes before the meter clicks off for the day. Irritated drivers argue that their watches say 6 o’clock while he continues writing and slaps the tickets on the windows. He struts away with a satisfied grin, and rushes to the next car with two minutes to spare.
The mentally challenged have put in a busy day at the local thrift shop and are on their way to BART. It brightens my day to hear their always cheerful greetings.
The dog walker is pulled along by five dogs, each tugging in a different direction across the broad sidewalk. The pint sized foo foo’s yip and yap, their tiny legs in fierce motion as they keep up with the labs.
A ginger bearded guy with baggy shorts over dirty long pants, wears a coat of many colors and sandals on his feet. He walks with an agenda and I expect a sermon one of these days.
And last of all, that crazy red hatted lady with purple attire…. Oops that would be me.
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