Funny how you get to “know” the people you see on the weekdays, when everyone goes to the same place at the same time. When I take the kids to school in the mornings, I recognize more than a handful of people along the way. I think about them in my freetime sometimes and I have given them all special names:
“Our Friend, Robin” – I know her name because I encountered her in a store once, talking to her boyfriend and he said her name. Robin walks everywhere she goes. I usually see her trudging along the main strip near the intersection closest to my house. She almost always wears a orange t-shirt and a fanny pack and in the mornings, she carries a to-go coffee in her right hand. She has beautiful, long blonde hair, which she pulls back in a ponytail when it’s hot. Sometimes she ventures out onto other streets and I usually manage to see her at least once a day.
“Bus Stop Man” – he sits at a bus stop, waiting for his transportation to arrive around 7:20 a.m. He must work at some sort of retail establishment that requires him to wear a red shirt with his name over the left pocket. He sports very thick eyeglasses and sometimes when we approach him, he will look up from his phone with his big, open eyes and it makes me and the kids chuckle.
“Homeless Guy” – he stands on the same corner in the mornings and holds his sign. It says “Homeless – Anything Will Help – God Bless.” He knows to stand in this spot because this is the direction most people are driving to get to work or school. The thing that strikes me the most about him is his sad smile. When it’s cold outside, he wears a long, dark blue wool coat, which goes past his knees and a hat. He also grows a beard, which helps keep his chilly cheeks toasty. Come summer, he wears a few different t-shirts with holes, which always look like they need to be washed. He also shaves his face. In the afternoons, he stands in another spot, just up the road, to catch the workers going back home. His smile is still sad.
“Crazy Guy” – I see him only sporadically but always in the same area too. He sits on top of a city trash can near our intersection and moves his arms and legs to the music coming through the earphones of his MP3 player. He waves at everyone that drives by and always has a huge smile on his face. I wonder if he’s happy or just crazy? Or both?
“Crossing Guard” – Same woman, every day. She is a petite woman with transition glasses and she always wears a visor. When it’s cold, she wears one of those standard-issue orange & yellow reflective coats, which on her, almost touches the ground. The mothers, fathers and students that are helped across the street by her seem to know her. This morning, I watched someone showing her something on her smartphone. She smiles when she talks to waiting customers. At the end of her work day, I have actually seen her holding up the sign for herself to cross the road to get where she’s going.
I love my neighborhood – and all the strangers in it!