I made a new friend today. That’s it, that’s my big highlight. I have the fog to thank. Charlie the puggle and I were taking our morning walk a little later than normal, so I also have Charlie to thank. He let me sleep in until 7:15! Oh, the luxury of it! (I don’t have to be to work until 11 a.m., so you understand my enthusiasm.)
We were out at the park, thinking about sitting down on one of the benches, when a woman rode up on her bicycle and sat down at the picnic table as if she were meeting a friend. (She was.) We chatted about the dense fog and she told me how her friend got lost in the fog and ended up several blocks away. I expressed sympathy about having to look for her friend.
Charlie dragged me over to her, so she could pet him, and after they bonded, Charlie sniffed her backpack.
“Ooh, Charlie,” I cooed, “what does she have in her bag? Is it her lunch?”
“That’s my house,” she told me.
“Ah,” I replied. “Traveling light.”
We talked more — about the weather, about the park and how it gets trashed now and then, and how nice it was to have a porta-potty there. I recalled how last year, someone kept tipping it over. She said she remembered that. She told me how someone vandalized the porta-potty, and she called the phone number on it, and they came out and cleaned it up.
Yes, my new friend Stephanie has a phone. It’s likely a prepaid phone and perhaps it’s only for emergencies — I don’t know. It didn’t matter. She was friendly, she shook my hand, and she laughed with me when I joked about how fat my dog is. She told me that she’d been staying at the Gladys Ray Shelter since it opened. She has a voucher for a month’s rent and a deposit for an apartment, but no one will rent to her. I expressed my dismay at that.
While we were chatting, another friend pulled up on her bike and sat down. She’d brought the doughnuts. And soon, two fellows joined us. They were on foot. They pretended to take the two bicycles, and then laughed and sat down. They were apparently friends, too. They had all the time in the world. There wasn’t any pressure to be anywhere at a certain time. It was a nice visit.
I have a job, so I do have to be somewhere. And now, looking at the clock, I realize I have to get ready for that job. I hope I see Stephanie again. She’s a nice lady.