I started my week out sick as a dog, and was napping on the couch on Sunday afternoon when I was prodded out of my slumber by a rumbling sound outside my window. When I got up and looked outside there was a firetruck parked directly in front of my building. It sat there idling for a really long time. I decided I would go out to Starbucks for a coffee and investigate whether or not my building was, in fact, on fire. When I stepped out of the elevator on the first floor the paramedics were carrying a stretcher out of the other elevator. In the stretcher was an elderly gentleman. The paramedics had intubated him, and one of them periodically squeezed the air bag hovering over his head. Other than the bag I only saw his gnarled bare feet, his toenails jagged and too long, a couple of them black, and his spherical belly, also bare, his bellybutton protruding.
When I was walking back from Starbucks there was a young hipster couple in front of me, and the man turned to the woman and said, "uh, there's a firetruck in front of our building!"
For the third time I have espied a man I consider the penultimate City Character while being almost prepared to capture him on film. The first time I saw him I actually had my digital camera with me, but he rode by too fast for me to get out the camera, turn it on and then let it work out its Huge Delay. The second time I had just dropped off my analog camera- which had film in it!- to be cleaned. The third was when I was on my way to pick up the camera from being cleaned.
He is perhaps in his mid-50s. He is short,
wears baggy jeans and has grey hair. Someone loves him enough to have
given him a helmet. He rides his bicycle around the capitol with signs
hanging from his handlebars and standing up on the back of his rear
wheel rack. The signs are drawn in magic market in a variety of colors.
At the top is something that appears to be written in Hebrew, though
since I can't read Hebrew I can't be sure. I have an inkling what it
might say, though- my bet is that is says 'Yahweh'. Because beneath the
Hebrew script is scrawled in multi-colored English:
The Lord Is Coming!
90 years! October-
I can't even begin to imagine what the 90 years signifies, or the incredibly enigmatic "77 1/2!" What could possibly be "77 1/2!" ? (Perhaps I should call Madonna/Esther?) The first time that I saw the Cassandra of Bicyclists in September he had an arrival date for the Lord: October 4th. I guess He couldn't make it.
Walking into my building this evening a fellow resident of the building walked in behind me and began to tell a story to the night desk guy in a very heavy West Indian accent. "Oh, I just saw a rob-ry over on 16th street. Right dere in frontova big group of people. Dis man came running down de block and right past all of us, and was well gone before dis poor Chinaman came running up calling for the police. Terrible! Dat poor man, gettin' himself robbed and dere wasn't a ting could be done by no one."