Sunday, January 25, 2015

People in my Neighborhood

Everybody has a secret world inside of them. All of the people of the world, I mean everybody. No matter how dull and boring they are on the outside, inside them they’ve all got unimaginable, magnificent, wonderful, stupid, amazing worlds. Not just one world. Hundreds of them. Thousands maybe.   ~  Neil Gaiman

There is a certain rhythm in my days. In my neighborhood I've noticed that there are lots of people that are in pretty much the same place in the same time. I don't know them but I wonder about their lives and who they are...

The first person that I noticed was "The Walking Lady" Every Monday through Friday she walks to and from work from Huntington Beach to Santa Ana, at least four miles each way. Her skin is tanned to teak wood and she has silver grey hippie hair. Rain or shine like clockwork, The Walking Lady walks, not in a hurry, but with zen purpose.

One of my favorites is "Jaunty Walker" Every afternoon, with the regularity of a Swiss windup, she powerwalks to the library and back, never varying her route. Even in the hottest weather she wears a dark puffy jacket, her fists pumping like a drum major. She's got swagger.

Most people don't have such exuberance. There is a strange lady that my mind has christened "Fruit Bags".  She wears a hat with her hoodie pulled up and carries an odd assortment of bright vinyl bags that I often see her digging through as she talks to herself.

This huge man who lumbers down to the library everyday pulling a rolling bag. He used to sit on the bench sometimes in the shade at the school across the street until the tree and the bench were removed.

Another favorite is "Bicycle Girl" I used to see her riding her bike everyday up the hill to my son's high school, zooming past the poor kid that was hauling his cello behind him. Bicycle Girl has the most glorious long brown hair that waves behind her like a silk flag. She now rides from a different direction and I wonder if she's going to college. I hope so, perhaps studying bicycle engineering or ballet or literature, thinking about Keats and Kafka as she rides along.

Another wheeled regular on my street is "The Bark Mobile" A tall, bald old man pulls a platform on the back of his bike, with his Australian sheep dog rides on like a parade float. As soon as the cart starts moving the dog gleefully barks its head off, announcing their arrival, a cross between a WWF announcer and a fire truck siren. You can hear them from blocks away.

I often see "Backpack Guy" walking to work each day. I find him most interesting because of the different ways that he carries his backpack, often slung off his forehead like a Sherpa bearer. He always wears a baseball cap.

So those are some of the people in my neighborhood, all living their lives with thoughts and worlds of their own. There are many more, the dog walkers, homeless folks, kids going to school, moms with strollers and cleaning ladies going to and from houses to home. I don't think that they notice me, a dumpy little suburban mom, driving to take care of my mom and running errands every day.

How about you? Who are the people in your neighborhood? Who do you notice?



PS Be Jaunty!

1 comment:

  1. Hi, I'm a librarian helping to put together a free journal that will be given to teens who sign up for the teen summer reading program this year. It will have lined pages and blank pages and some pages with ideas of fun and interesting things to do. May we have permission to reprint one of your papercrafts? Perhaps the Infinity Card, the mideval trebuchet, a couple of the Little Gifts for You to Make, A Leaf Envelope... something that a teenager would appreciate.

    We would include this site address and a brief mention of your books. I understand if the answer is "no" of course, but hope you'll consider my request. I can be reached at Kirstedw - at - kcls - dot - org. Thanks so much.