Wednesday, August 24, 2005

October 28, 2004


It is the little things...
Driving generally puts me in a state of passivity that could almost be called calm although my family would laugh at that word in relation to me. However, most mornings I drive in a blank state of mind that only perks up when I'm in front of the office with a deer-in-the-headlights thought wondering how I got there. However, through my supposed blankness I appear to have absorbed what is happening around me to the extent that I am beginning to recognize the familiarity of the path (streets) I choose to take to work. Every morning, without fail, rain or shine, there is an older Chinese woman who walks along the feeder road into our subdivision. Her hair is always neatly in a bun and she wears the traditional work costume of black loose pants and solid buttoned-to-the-throat long-sleeved top. Her face is serene as she walks. She is enjoying the waking up of nature despite the traffic. Once out onto the main road to town there is an older man who walks daily, invigorated by his walk. He is always stepping lightly and looking around. A younger woman follows him a few blocks down always jogging, her face set with determination as she pounds the sidewalks with her feet. A block down from them two women walk every day talking animatedly and gesturing as they interact, oblivious to the traffic driving by. Once I turn out onto the main drag there are more familiar people, landmarks and things that I've noted without realizing I've noticed. An older gentleman is always near the corner walking two dogs. One is a tall, elegant German Shepherd, the other is a small, fluffy Sheltie. Both dogs are beautifully behaved and they always walk at the pace of the stately German Shepherd. The smaller dog trots to keep up. They even stop elegantly sniffing bushes as if weighing each scent in their mind, then moving on with grace and dignity. One time for many weeks I didn't see them and then suddenly, a woman appeared for a week walking only the German Shepherd. I wondered what had happened. This week man and both dogs reappeared as elegant and dignified as ever. About 6 blocks from where they walk there is an older lady who walks a black cocker spaniel. The dog is on a long lead that retracts. The woman always wears a hat, shirt tucked in and carries a walking stick in her hand although she never uses it. The dog is bright, happy-go-lucky and sniffs everything, but seems to mind the woman if she voices anything. She walks as if it is a much sought-after duty, something she enjoys and does with great grace. The dog obeys her implicitly, but at the same time she allows it a certain amount of free rein. It makes me think this woman was a teacher and an exceptional one, at that. There are cars who are my neighbors in the lanes where we stop and go as streetlights dictate. There's a small green car with a license plate from Mexico. Usually there is a man alone in it, but occasionally a young teen boy is with him. When the boy is with him the car always seems to hurry along. There are several work trucks. A white one often passes me with glass-holders on the side but generally doesn't have the glass yet. Another brown pickup carries men in the back who are facing the cars behind, off to work on the farms, I suppose. They look like migrant farm workers, if I may be so bold as to stereotype someone. Their clothing is generally rough and their hands when they gesturing are tough and steady. Although they do not talk to each other I sense a camaraderie there. A nudge, a wink, I know they see the young blonde woman jogging on the sidewalk next to us. The cell phone drivers are always interesting and again, a stereotype exists. Almost always the vehicle is an expensive one. The people are dressed in business attire, even the women. Hair and nails are done for women and the men sport sleek salon haircuts. They are oblivious to the world around them intently focusing only on the phone they are speaking into and the person on the other end. Quite often, they are alone in the car. We all flow with the traffic, each of us in our own little world either passively watching it go by like me, or going into it with feeling like the walkers and joggers. Or ignoring it completely like the cell phone people. Today I saw a bumper sticker...I've never seen the van it was on before so they must be new in my world of morning commute (g). Vaya Con Los Olas. I think it means Go With The Flow. I will ask David tomorrow. This is my boss, who speaks Espanol fluently. But I thought it kind of fitting that we all in our own way go with the flow.

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