I've been missing walking on the Greenway a bit. Since daylight savings time started I haven't really been able to walk there because it's dark when I get out of work, and I don't want to be out on the Greenway after dark because there won't be anyone else there, so if I trip over tree roots and hurt myself no one will come along to find me. I probably could have gone on the weekends, but most weekends I just haven't felt like it and have walked on my treadmill instead. I'm going to stop doing that (unless it's raining) and get back into going on Saturday and Sunday, because it's nice to be outside.
Also, I missed the People of the Greenway.
Back when I thought my neighbor was dead I mentioned that I assign little nicknames to strangers that I see often. They're not particularly clever, but it mentally acknowledges that I know those people, and sort of makes me feel like we're friends even though we haven't actually spoke. I haven't seen any of them during my walking this week, when I've been on the Greenway every day that it wasn't raining, but I'm keeping hope alive that I'll run into any or all of them. There are other people out there, but none of them are my people, if that makes sense.
Since I never explained, these are the People of the Greenway:
Gramma Jogger: Gramma Jogger is my friend Meg's neighbor, and Meg has told me her name at least a dozen times. It just slides right off of my brain. When I began walking the Greenway in July, I saw Gramma Jogger almost every day. She is a tiny little older lady, not even as tall as my shoulder, and she jogs. She doesn't just walk the Greenway like most of the people on it her age. She jogs, and she's pretty fast. She's also the first (and so far only) of the People of the Greenway to acknowledge me in a friendly way. After about a month and a half of walking, she started to wave when we passed each other (she and I always go in opposite directions), and now whenever we see each other we wave. I was kind of hoping to see her this week, but no luck so far.
Pecs-y Galore: I am barely conscious of what Pecs-y's face looks like. All I've ever noticed is the chest. From July until October, every time I saw Pecs-y Galore he was running toward me, shirtless, often sweaty, and it was like a scene from "Baywatch", every single time. It was like he was always running in slow motion, and all I noticed was gigantic, Rob Liefeld-esque pectorals glistening in the sun as they shifted and bounced. Like I said, I have no idea what his face looks like (He might be blonde? Or brunette? I know he's not bald. I think.) but I'm pretty sure I could pick his chest out of a police lineup.
Stroller Dad: Stroller Dad jogs the Greenway while pushing a stroller. He jogs the entire time. Even uphill. Not only that, but he jogs quickly. Sometimes he takes the Greenway loop one way and sometimes he takes another, but every time he goes in the same direction as me he passes me. Going uphill. While pushing a stroller.
I have sometimes had unkind thoughts about Stroller Dad.
Henna Rinse: Henna Rinse cracked me up. I walk the Greenway with my headphones in and my iPod on shuffle, so usually I don't really hear what people are saying. My friend Elizabeth said she likes to hear herself breathe while she runs, but I find that counterproductive, and wear the headphones to drown out the sound of my own wheezing. One day in August, I found myself a few feet behind Henna Rinse and her friend, and in the brief but magical window between one song and the next on my iPod I heard Henna Rinse:
"I don't do ALL THIS," she said, gesturing at the Greenway, "for ALL THIS," she continued, gesturing at herself, "for him to not call me."
I almost choked. It wasn't what she said so much as the outraged, "men are pigs" tone of voice, and I loved it. For a moment, I wanted to be her friend.
Rescue Dog: He's a nice little old man with a small, white rescue dog. He talks a lot, though, so if you notice the dog Rescue Dog will immediately begin telling you the entire story of where they found him and how long they've had him and how long they've been working as dog rescuers and the history of the dog breed and the pros and cons of owning one and how important it is that dogs have a good home and you'll begin to wish you'd never slowed down, much less stopped, to pet his dog. Normally I ignore dogs on the Greenway, but if you look at Rescue Dog's dog he says, "Go ahead and pet him! He's friendly!" and then you're trapped.
Tennis Skirt: A middle aged lady, she always walks in the opposite direction, and she always walks in a tennis skirt. I have no idea how many she has, but I've seen her in a black one, a white one, and a pink one, all with matching tops.
Finally, there is The Really Hot Guy With Three Dogs and One of Them is a Dalmatian: For the longest time, I thought he was a myth, some sort of Greenway urban legend. Two of my female friends told me about him during two separate conversations about walking the Greenway, and both of them spoke of him in hushed tones.
"Have you seen The Really Hot Guy With Three Dogs and One of Them is a Dalmatian?"
"I don't know. I don't really notice people's dogs, but I guess I might have seen him."
"Oh, no, you'd know if you saw him."
July turned to August, August to September, and September was creeping into October, but still I hadn't ever seen a really hot guy with three dogs, period, nevermind seeing a really hot guy with three dogs and one of them was a Dalmatian. I began to suspect that he wasn't real, or that he'd started walking on some other Greenway (the city has several, after all), and that I would just never see him, but then one Saturday I went to the Greenway at a different time from the one I normally walked at. As I was walking from the parking lot where I park downhill toward another parking lot, I noticed a guy getting out of his SUV.
A really hot guy.
He paused at the back of the SUV to grab the bottom of his shirt with both hands and then peel it slowly upwards, and then he tossed it into the back of the SUV as dogs began piling out.
One, two, no, three dogs.
And one of them was a Dalmatian.
Oh my God, I thought. He's REAL. It's the Really Hot Guy With Three Dogs and One of Them is a Dalmatian.
And then I never saw him again.
You know what I saw every time I went to the Greenway, though? Something I didn't miss.
This Chick-Fil-A sticker:
Someone stuck that on the light pole just past the 1 Mile marker or, if you walk the Greenway in the opposite direction, just before the 1 Mile marker. Every time I see that sticker I feel mildly irritated, because I'm gay and Chick-Fil-A hates me. Why does that sticker have to be there? That light pole isn't near any of the parking lots, which means someone had to carry that sticker with them. Who does that? Who feels that strongly about Chick-Fil-A and their hateful bigoted values?
I've thought a lot about that sticker.
I think about it every time I make a lap of the Greenway. I think about tearing it off of the light pole, but I'm worried it will rip, and then I'll have to look at an ugly, ripped, half sticker every time I go by, and that's not good, either. I thought about reporting it as vandalism, but felt that the city wouldn't take such a complaint seriously. Not only that, but I'd feel a little bad if they sent some poor city parks employee out to check all of the light poles on the Greenway just because I don't like a sticker. I also thought about coloring in all the words on the sticker with a black marker, or putting another sticker over it, but that's vandalism. Granted, the person who put up that sticker also committed vandalism, but two wrongs don't make a right. Vandalism to cover up other, worse vandalism is still vandalism, right?
Maybe, I thought. But maybe it serves a greater good, like civil disobedience.
But it's still a crime. I don't commit crimes, usually.
If your family was starving, would you steal bread to feed your family? I think we all know where that particular inner voice came from. What if your family didn't need bread? What if they needed someone to vandalize a light pole on the Greenway?
It would still be a crime.
Can crime serve a greater purpose? Is doing the right thing and doing the legal thing not always the same thing? I don't know. Those aren't my questions to answer. All I do know is that yesterday, somewhere between my first and second mile on the Greenway, some hypothetical person carried a sticker that's the exact opposite of everything that rabid Chick-Fil-A supporters stand for to the light pole just past the first mile marker, and that nameless anonymous person righted a wrong:
Peeling off that sticker will also peel off the sticker beneath.