Last night, I was out walking on Gregg Avenue later in the evening. Someone leaned out and shouted, “Hey X! You a**hole!” as they laughed. I couldn’t see who it was, but I waved enthusiastically. Only friends shout like that. It brightened my mood for a moment; it was much needed. The walk not only served as exercise but also as an escape. Like most escapes, it didn’t work; most tend to bring whatever’s in your head along for the ride. I envy those who seem to be able to deflect their hearts when necessary.
This morning, way before the sunrise, I got out of bed and walked the streets again within five minutes of arising. Reaching the end of the parking lot, I saw a man and a woman walking, the woman ahead of the man, her socked feet shuffling awkwardly. There’s a lot of questions in my head from that scene. I tried to imagine what events transpired to lead them into the early morning dark, one of them without shoes. They plodded along, devoid of any energy or spark. I soon outpaced them and left them far behind. They were on my mind, though.
Sundays mornings, I see evidence that people didn’t use their best judgment. Near Fossil Cove brewery, I noted an excessive number of beer cars and errant liquor bottles. A block down, someone’s ornate mailbox laid on the ground in tatters, probably from a speeding drunk driver approaching carelessly from the side road. On the opposite side of the road, I stopped and snapped a picture of the Banksy girl painted on the side of a railroad control box. The disparity of the message amidst the realities of the morning gripped me.
Yesterday, as I exited my apartment, a neighbor said, “Hey X, I hope you don’t me asking, but my mother-in-law LOVES your blue lantern. Could you make her one?”
I paused, and said, “No.” I watched the woman try to gauge me. She failed.
I took the blue solar lantern made from an inverted hummingbird feeder and handed it to her. “No, but I will give you this one.” She smiled in surprise.
“Wait,” I told her. I pulled my other metal silhouette lantern from the hanger and handed that to her as she neared her door. “Take this, too.” I explained the rechargeable batteries and how to use them long-term.
She was so happy with the unexpected gifts. Though I was now left with no solar lanterns on my landing, I was happy, too. That’s not nothing.
It’s entirely a coincidence that I’d ordered two more sets of fairy lights on Wednesday. I love how the universe sometimes surprises me. Two incidents yesterday remind me that my neighbors are watching me in curiosity to see what projects I’m up to.
Later in the morning, a neighbor headed out to walk to his job. The skies were ominous and ready to pour. “Hey, how about I give you a ride to work?” He accepted, and I spent a few minutes not only doing him a solid but was able to connect with him as we drove to his workplace and talked.
Other parts of my day were both sublime and tumultuous. The dichotomy of these days never fails to surprise me and sometimes alarms me. I understand that my intelligence often fails me when I try to assimilate the lessons and use my experience to guide me. My experience in life isn’t a detailed roadmap. Like anyone else, my heart sometimes overrides the clear path in front of me.
But I walk on, literally and figuratively.
“There is always hope,” is a truth. Equally valid is that we have to confront the day with the practical tools and options available. We have hope for the future but also must live the minutes as they come. Instead of revising these few words, I’ll post them ‘as is,’ much in the way that life speeds along in front of us.
P.S. I’m adding a paragraph. As I posted this, the putt-putt of a moped outside drew my attention. A man stood by the dumpster, looking for treasure in the mountain of trash. I walked out and crossed the parking lot. “I’m the neighborhood weirdo,” I told him. He looked at me cautiously. Though I don’t have much money (now more than ever), I handed him a $20 bill. He said, “God bless you!” He smiled like the sunrise. “I am, if only I can find ways to see it,” I told him as I walked back to my apartment. I didn’t look back at him, because as happy as he was by the gift, I think he was about to get emotional.