I spent my lunchtime today talking to Ray, the Dolores Park Ambler. He's the charming older fellow who walks sloooowly up and down the south side of the park with his cane, stopping to say something to anyone who'll listen. I generally listen. Today he was telling me about, well, everything really. Alcohol, women, bad tendons. Dope. Pensions. Being a building manager. He threw in something about flogging tenants, just to see if I was still listening (I was). Two major recurring themes are his life here in the 60s compared to now, and how good he's got it. The former is fascinating if incredibly hard to understand, and the latter is charming because, when you get right down to it, he's a disabled retiree with no family. He's also apparently the happiest person living in this city.
When I glanced at my watch and told him that I'd better head back to work, he shook my hand and told me that he loves people who work. This brought to mind a story he'd told me a few weeks ago about an experiment he did: he put down a bunch of new, shiny pennies on the sidewalk and settled down to watch. When someone walked right by them, Ray asked him why he hadn't picked up any of the pennies. The guy responded by telling him how much money he made each month and how he didn't need any pennies, and Ray thanked him. "Please keep making so much money," he said, "you're paying my rent... you lovely puppy."
The only part of this story that is not actually a lovely puppy is the fact that I spent my lunch hour conversing instead of eating. By 3:00 I was a blood sugar catastrophe: shaky, exhausted, and overwhelmed by absolutely everything. Call the phone company? I can't call the phone company. I don't know what they'll say; how can I possibly call them? Give me an hour to write out a script of the conversation and then maybe I can call them. I have a list of nine other similar tasks to complete in the next month? No, I'm sorry. I can't do that; that's way too much. Now I remember why I'm always eating. It beats not functioning.Posted by dianna at March 14, 2005 04:27 PM