My home park. When I want a more social/meditative walk I do three laps around the perimeter of the park. Takes about an hour. This morning, the usual cast of characters were there. Jorge, the Nicaraguan ex pat, living in the wash, sits on the same park table every day. And every day, all day long, he’s sipping on a cold Mickey’s. Sippin’ and greetin’. Sippin’ and greetin’. Crazy Mary was there, too. Crazy Mary lives on the hill south of the park in a house made out of wooden pallets. Every morning she rebuilds her house. She was chatting on a cell phone today. Chattin’ and sippin’. A barrel chested man, Minnesota Mike, was walking his old dachshund. And this morning, as he does every morning, Minnesota Mike yells continually at the old pup, “Keep up!” and “Quit dragging your ass!”
If I time it right, as I did this morning, I get to hear a voice over the loudspeaker at Mountain View School booming the Anti-Bullying Pledge over the northern end of the park. San Diego, an old white whiskered Mexican man so named because he always wears clothes that depict a San Diego sport team, got a new bike from Walmart which he was pedaling in super high gear, legs spinning frantically, as he rode loop after loop on the sidewalk around the park, greeting me with a “Buenos Dias!” every single time he passed me.
An Asian man, who sleeps in the desert nearby and has no possessions, took up his normal spot on a bench where he sits all day. As I was finishing my walk, I caught a rare glimpse of Walking Man, a bearded and army fatigued guy who wears a big hat and carries a back pack. He was such a common sight walking Sunnyslope that we started called him Walking Man. He is a self-proclaimed Jeffersonian Patriot and now rides or walks his bike throughout the neighborhood. Hadn’t seen him for a few months. As always, he didn’t return my greeting.