Thursday, January 7, 2021

These are the characters I encounter on my morning walks

I walk almost every morning, and I always do it along one of six or so predetermined routes. This is my routine, and as a consequence, I often intersect with others who have their own routines.

Back when we lived on East 300th Street, the person I most frequently came across was Cologne Guy. He was an older gentlemen who took a brisk daily walk along Route 84. We would exchange friendly hellos, and as I ran past him (I was running back then), I would always get a sniff of his English Leather cologne. It was not unpleasant, but I never understood why he made himself so fragrant before going out on a walk.

In more recent years I've often seen Relentlessly Waddling Lady. She is not a fast walker, but she is a persistent one. She is also very nice. I don't see her much in winter, though.

There is also Hound Dog Guy, and here I find myself a bit confused. Hound Dog Guy walks his dog a lot, though it turns out the dog is actually a beagle mix. At one point my family and I thought it was a hound dog, but even after we got some clarity on the breed, the Hound Dog Guy moniker was too well established to discard.

Anyway, I see Hound Dog Guy quite a bit, but I also regularly see a guy walking around my neighborhood without a dog, and I honestly don't know whether it's Hound Dog Guy without his dog or another man altogether who just happens to look like Hound Dog Guy. This has gone on for years and I still can't say for sure whether this is one man or two men who look alike.

Farther down my street is Nightgown Woman, though I only see her if I get up later than normal, as she tends to walk a bit later in the morning. In the summer she wears her nightgown while she walks. Really. I think she just wakes up, gets out of bed, and heads straight out the door to walk, appearances be damned.

One of the most enigmatic figures is Walking Jewish Lady. I don't say this to be disparaging in any way. She gets her name from the fact that I'm fairly certain she is one of the Orthodox Jewish people who live on the west end of Wickliffe. She wears a head covering that almost looks like a nun's habit, and she always walks in a skirt or dress.

And she walks a lot. I see her all over the place and I know she recognizes me. At most, though, my friendly "good morning" is met with a slight smile from her and never any sort of verbal reply. This could be a cultural/religious thing (not talking to a strange man), and she certainly is not rude about it. In any case, she is an impressive walker.

Lately I've seen Small Running Girl quite a bit, though I shouldn't call her "girl" in that she is clearly not a girl, but rather a young woman. It's just that I use "Lady" and "Woman" in a lot of these character names and she immediately became Small Running Girl in my head. She is slight of stature but unflappable in her running as she traverses up and down the hills around my house. Back in my running days I was her, except I'm taller and not female.

I see and say hello to many others as I walk, depending on the time of day, but these are the regulars. I wonder if they have a name for me? I would be fine with Walking Sweatshirt Guy.

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