Walkabout. Honey Edition.
I had my annual eye doctor appointment this morning and since it was close by and I hate driving after the doctor puts drops in my eyes, I decided to get in an hour canal walk before the blurriness began. Sunnyslope never ceases to amaze me with its variety of local, colorful inhabitants. Today, I visited with the Boatman, an old guy who builds wooden boats, ties a string to them, and floats them in the canal. The Fisherman, a bedraggled young man with two fishing poles, was in his usual spot on the bridge. Fish weren’t biting today. Some sad hound dog was baying his head off on the north side from a kennel at the Humane Society.
On the way over to the doctor’s office, a young man pushing a cart that looked like a chariot approached. He stopped to tell me that he was doing okay, living on the street, after his father had kicked him out of the house for the last time. His chariot was loaded with scraps of metal, an old bike frame, and the iron springs from a mattress. He was on his way to the salvage yard to sell his stuff, which didn’t fully explain the pile of random shoes he was hauling around.
I saw the doctor. Eyes are good for another year. I hate getting my eyes dilated. For several long hours afterwards, everything I look at is blurry and out of focus. My eyes get really light sensitive, so today I wore a hat and my dark sunglasses to the office. The nurse gave me a super dark sheet of eyeglass-shaped plastic to wear between my eyes and my glasses. Keeps the light out, but I felt like Ray Charles wearing a scratched fish bowl on my head. I pressed homeward. I was almost there when I stopped to tie my shoelace.
“Ya got a nice ass on you, darlin’,” came a voice from beneath a nearby palo verde tree. I was so focused on not falling down that I had not seen the woman sitting on a backpack, smoking a cigarette, beneath the tree. “Fine ass, darlin’,” she said again. “Wanna get a bottle and have some fun?”
Even with my limited vision I could tell the voice belonged to a woman with long, dark hair. She was wearing a stained t-shirt that said I Love New York on it, cut-off sweat pants, and no shoes. I couldn’t make out her face very well, but from what I could see of her skin, she appeared to have been at one time a calendar model for the Tandy Leather Co. when she was younger. I couldn’t tell how old she was, but her perfume told me that she had been on the street for a while.
“Ya wanna party, Sugar?” she offered. I weighed 28 years of sobriety against partying down with my new best friend. Hoping she was a Republican, I told her I was married, thinking her respect for the sanctity of my marriage vows would put an end to our discussion. I was mistaken. “Married, huh? Variety is the spice of life! Darlin,” she said, “your wife will never know and you will never forget!” she taunted. “I know some tricks!” She emphasized that last point by sticking her tongue out and wiggling it at me. Her tongue was huge, thick and fat. She just didn’t stick it out at me, but rolled it around, her head lolling from one side to the other. I had seen enough. More than enough. Even though I was partially blind.
“I gotta go,” I begged off. I stumbled on down the road, distraught. She called out to me one last time, “Ya don’t know what you’re missing, Honey!”
She had me on that one, though I could only imagine, which I tried to avoid doing. Some things one sees can’t be unseen, however.
A few minutes later when I walked up the driveway, Tulip stuck her head out of the fence, all yips and barks. She was happy to see me and wanted me to come play with her.
“Just a minute,” I told her. “I need a shower first.”