notes from the commute

There's a guy, about three blocks from the station, who sits on a folding chair swaddled in blankets. He has a bucket on the sidewalk in front of him with bottles in it and flags. I imagine he's a veteran but have no proof. The block he sits on is popular with homeless people and between him and a younger man, who sits with coffee and cigarettes, there is a fruit vendor.
I mention this as I often wonder about the fruit vendor. There he stands with a huge cart of food amidst hungry people. Are they hungry? Or just sleeping on the street? Do they even sleep on the street? I don't know but I have seen the fruit man, twice, bring fruit over to the man in the blankets (it is not cold here). Today I saw him bringing something else - rose petals. He had a handful of orange rose petals and he was crushing them up a little, in his palms and offering the scent of them to the man in the blankets.
It changed my whole morning.
I decided to walk through the flower district instead of my usual way and saw mums and cabbages and boxwoods lined up tightly against the street. I saw sunflowers with bright yellow centers and a woman wearing those shoes that look like toes and dozens of tiny pepper plants with bright red peppers.
Men were loading a mini steamroller onto a truck and the smell of fresh tar wafted around. Two men walked past me wheeling topiaries. Huge ones!

I turned the corner and saw the tailor bent over her work. She's not small, this lady, and she wears her hair piled up on the top of her head as she sews and she always has a huge floppy bow that hangs over part of her face. Sometimes she's on the phone. In tiny slippers.

The wedding dresses sparkled as I walked quickly past them. I like to pick one in each window. The biggest, the frilliest, the one with the most beading.
Four good songs in a row on my iPod. I'm walking pretty fast at this point.
A man passed me with a trolley full of clip-boards and water bottles. He has a sign that reads Beach Clean-Up. Where could he be headed?

There's an empty store-front on the next corner. The windows have bright blue tape in big X's over them. Inside, new floor boards are piled high, waiting to be installed and a purple sombrero sits on top of them.

The last store I pass is the Halloween store. I start to feel anxious about seeing the window displays full of ghoulish fiends and this year's speciality: dead-looking babies crawling around with blood on their little hands. But, just as I reach the window and avert my eyes, I pass a lady with a goofy looking baby strapped face-out on her front. The baby is waving and smiling and she looks happy.
It's just enough.

Comments

Anonymous said…
There is nothing like a happy baby.

What a gift to be able to see so much on your way to work. And you have such a gift for describing what you see.

jbhat
Susie Sunshine said…
I wish I was walking with you, but this is nearly as good.

The zombie babies are just strange. (Although carrying one around in a baby sling face out or in a stroller would be an easy and AWESOME costume.)
jo said…
That was one of my favorites. Thank you.
Anonymous said…
Beautiful.

I luff the fruit vendor with his rose petals.

ErinH
Purple sombrero? A new Mexican restaurant.
Paola said…
I love that each of you has its own "best post" like you have your "notes on my commute" and Alice has her "for the record".
They are the best of your blogs, something special to them ...
Just lovely in their details.
Your daily observations always make me see MY day a little differently. So thanks.
And about those Halloween displays? I cringe and look away, too.
alice c said…
You are so present in the world that you pass through. I love that about you.

(I was surprised and honoured to read Paola's comment. Thank you, lovely Paola)
Kaylen said…
Sometimes I look at NOTHING on my way places. This is a good reminder to me to open my eyes and look around.

I love the explanation re: your dad and Halloween. Sad to think about having such a memory associated with that particular day, but this does give it a new perspective.

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