herewith, a few snippets of what i've seen while walking around lately.
going to grab lunch, i was chatting on the cell phone with a friend, when i was distracted by oinking. huh? trundling down the road was a van outfitted like a giant pink pig with a tree on top (don't even ask - i have no explanation for the tree) hauling a few baby pigs behind it.
coming back from lunch, i saw a whole crowd of people stopped at the walk light and a huge haul truck stopped in the intersection, blocking it. driving being the sport that it is around here, i figured there had been an accident. it wasn't as if i wanted to see it, but i had to walk that way to get back to the office. when i got up to the curb, i saw no accident. instead, the truck driver had gotten out to help a cop subdue someone. one of the local panhandler, survey, 'give a dollar for the cause' sort of guys. he was face down in the road, yelling that the cop was abusing him (he wasn't). the cop wanted to know why he ran if he had nothing to hide. i stood there long enough to memorize the arrestee's face.
i had gone to the pharmacy to pick up a few things. (side note: ever notice we can get all kinds of crap in a 'pharmacy'? you can't do that in England. you want envelopes, go to a stationer.) coming out, i saw a young boy, maybe four, standing on the sidewalk smack in everyone's way. he was fussing with his shorts. it was hot. i didn't think much of it. then he pulled out his teeny little member and peed all over the sidewalk, looking blissfully happy. i briefly thought of directing him to a corner, but just kept walking. as i walked inside, i passed (presumably) his mom and not much older brother coming out. behind me, hysterical laughter and 'oh, oh, honey, oh, oh...'
another night at the pharmacy, another arrest. this one seemed to involve people sitting in the doorway, people at the registers, people in the aisles, and several cops. not sure quite what transpired, but the woman in cuffs was quite calmly discussing with one cop how her friend was going to get home. *shakes head* surreal.
the summer seems to have brought out a plethora of puppies and babies. lunchtime strolls generally involve sightings of many. they're all cute. there are also summer classes doing projects. one involved doing a survey and learning fractions to calculate the number of people in open toed shoes. after that, the group headed into the Discovery Channel store, with the teacher (who couldn't have been more than 22) telling the kids that the telescopes are worth 'more than any of you - so don't touch them!' as we laughed quietly, he emended that to say they were worth more than he was, too.
i love the different faces of the Square. walking thru early in the morning to get coffee and flowers, the light is just so, and the sidewalks open and quiet. i like the peace then. later in the day, the place is filled with people taking a break from work, sightseers gawking, maybe a guitarist, and Spare Change vendors. i've gotten to know a few of the vendors, and try to always get my issue from one of them.
late at night, the Square takes on a whole different energy. the spots are filled with performers - the accordian guy, a Peruvian band, a blues player with a turquoise slide guitar, Scary Political Guy (who is actually quite lovely to chat with) with the talking ear and his fountain, jugglers with flaming torches or plungers, magicians doing card tricks and various sleight of hand, the Angel Statue. i occasionally find a surprise, and always like seeing familiar faces.
people watching is always a good pasttime. (why does that word look wrong?) goth kids, tattoed people of all ages, Preppy McMuffy, drag queens, homeless people, Crazy Crying Man who walked by my house the other night, Canadian tourists (yes, you can tell by the look), exchange students, semi famous faces, the occasional famous face. you're never lacking for entertainment.
art cars abound around here. i haven't seen the Flaming Lunar Truck lately, but there are others. a white one painted with ivy vines to cover rust, one with little plastic figurines glued all over it, a folk art car, with slogans painted on the bumpers. i'm debating buying a junker just so i can make an art car.
i've gotten used to the sound of cell phones, but as i walked by the bus alley the other day, i was startled to hear a real phone. someone had pulled the regular dial phone (the fat, heavy old kind) out the window and left it on the sill, so they wouldn't have to walk back inside, thereby breaking the tan break.
walking around my town, you get a little bit of everything.