I work on a small island where I see people running and walking every day. Some I have noticed for years and others are new this season. I have made up names for many of them. It makes the drive to each job somehow more enjoyable and I feel happy when I see these people. Some I have seen for ages and one I just noticed this spring. It was not purposeful to name them, the names just sort of jumped in my brain and they stuck.
‘Dead Man Running’ is one I have actually met. His name is Tony and when he is standing or chatting with me at the little market where I go almost daily for coffee he looks very much the picture of health…but when he is running, well, he looks half dead, like it is so painful and laborious for him to take another step…yet he does, for many many blocks, almost every single day.
‘Walking with Newspaper Man’ is really skilled at doing this task. I happen to get violently ill when I am in a truck or car or boat and look down to read ANYTHING, even a glimpse and I get so sick, but this man has the amazing ability to read while he walks and I have even seen him turn the pages!
‘Tiny Weights Stepper’ is a woman who must be training for SOMETHING, God only knows what, as she is out at three different times of the day…I have seen her early mornings on my way to a job, in the afternoon when I am heading to another or going for supplies, and at the end of the day when I am leaving the island. She can’t be 5 feet tall and she can’t weigh more than 90 pounds and she jogs the tiniest slowest steps I have ever seen and always carries small dumbbells in each hand.
‘Holding Hands Couple’ is my favorite. They must be year round residents here as, like the post office, neither the rain nor the snow nor horrid humidity, stops them. They often wear matching clothes and they are always holding hands. I have never seen them side by side and not hand in hand. Yesterday I watched them avoid a pot hole and step up onto a broken curb and noticed that they both had to adjust their pace…and I wondered, do they hold hands because they love each other so much, or as they are rather old, do they hold hands for balance?
‘Hot Mamma’ is a new one this season…she has long blonde hair and a rockin’ body and is pushing the most fabulous orange stroller I have ever seen. She walks, jogs, and runs. She appears to have no giggly bits whatsoever and giving birth to whatever is in the stroller did nothing to ruin her figure.
On my way home from work last night, tired and aching after a very hard day, I swerved into the shoulder, and when I straightened out, noticed ‘Tiny Weights Stepper’ on her evening jog and laughed, wondering if she has names for all the people she notices every day too…maybe to her I am “too big silver truck girl.”
I suppose much like a favorite tree, or great architectural masterpiece, or broken bench that other commuters notice every day on their rides to work, these people are my map markers. I know I am in Surf City when I see ‘Holding Hands Couple’ and I know I am in Harvey Cedars when I see ‘Dead Man Running’ but mostly I guess I know where I belong…seeing the sights of my day, day in and day out, week after week, making my way in the world, even if my world is just a tiny barrier island…