Saturday, September 10, 2005

A stretch of river III: The "regulars"

I would say that Scruffy and I qualify as "regulars" along the 1/2 mile of river we walk: every morning, we begin at 6 or shortly after; in the evenings, we're less regular in the sense of setting a watch by us, but any time between 6:00 and 7:30, we're there.

If other people are also out there at either time on a daily basis, I just haven't noticed them. That is to say, it's a rare day when, even at sunrise, there aren't people out and about, and in the early evening the park can be quite busy. Some of them may be there on a "regular" basis, too. But as you'll see, the people I'll describe below have something about them that is "distinctive" (that seems a polite enough term). But that seems too damning in an understated way, for only one person on this list, so far as I can tell, is what a reasonable person would call "weird."

Another definition: for the most part, I've seen (or, rather, noticed) these people at least twice in the month we've been walking around here. I may or may not have seen them recently, and I'll note that.

With one exception (the "weird" person), I've never seen any of the morning regulars during the evening, or vice versa. So, I'll group them according to "morning" and "evening" people.

Morning regulars:
**a group of rowers who practice every morning in their racing hulls. It's quite peaceful and calming to see them on the water just as the sun is coming up.
**a young-ish couple whom I always happen to see, when I see them, as we're both crossing the Murdoch Street bridge, heading in opposite directions and on opposite sides of the bridge. I am certain that they see me, but they refuse to return my greetings.
**a young-ish woman who speaks only Spanish and who walks her lapdog of indeterminate breed and who seems VERY afraid of Scruffy (and with good reason, I might add). Upon seeing him, she always says, "Ay! El perro, el perro!" and gathers up her dog in her arms. I have not seen her in about a week now.
**an older woman who walks her white Spitz by a nearby apartment complex and who also refuses to return my greetings.

Evening regulars:
**an older couple, a black man and a white woman, who sit in the park inside their white Cadillac with a red ragtop and who always return my greeting. The man in particular is very friendly; he is the man who once asked if Scruffy is a wolfhound, and last night as we walked past, he said that Scruffy is "a good dog." So, let me amend that: he's very friendly, but perhaps delusional.
**a young woman who walks her shorthair terrier by some nearby apartments and who always seems to turn and start walking away from the euphemistically-named Pet Exercise Area when Scruffy and I appear.
**a woman about my age who, each time I've seen her, is always carrying groceries to her apartment and who was the first person to say, "Oh, a Scruffy dog!"
**two men in the park who practice the bagpipes--specifically, the march "Farewell to the Creeks." I hesitate to call these guys "regulars" because, as they told me, they're there to practice the pipes for a competition at the McPherson Scottish Festival later this month; in all likelihood they'll disappear after the end of the month. But they're here because "Farewell to the Creeks" is such a beautiful and sad piece--it sounds triumphant and melancholy at the same time as it floats over the park. In short: they're here because they're cool.

The one regular I've seen in both the morning and the afternoon was once going to be a subject for his own entry. His routine has since changed, but for the first two weeks we were here, he was in the park every morning and most afternoons. Whether before sunrise or at early evening, he is always sitting on the same swing in the park, always slowly swinging. For a while, he was always dressed in red. He has a bicycle for transportation. I've only seen him from a distance, but during the day children play quite close to him. "Weird" is perhaps too harsh an adjective for him; how about "mysterious"?

So, then: the Regulars. Whether this makes my world look less or more like a de Chirico painting, I'm no longer so sure.

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Anonymous said...

Canada RULES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Alex said...

You and I are in the same boat. I suspect your and my dog got their weak kidneys out of the same bag!! I never met anyone at 6:00 a.m., however, in compensation I run the danger of being pasted to the roadway because drivers here think the Highway Traffic Act is only a guideline. Come to think about it (in fun only) maybe some of your parishioners (it would make a great post) think the Bible is only a guideline!! The question arose because somebody somewhere said "Love the sinner. Hate the sin." If that criteria is true none of us have to worry. That is enough mischief for me today so I’ll quite here!!