Monday, March 2, 2009

the prostitute, the corpse, and my first gallon saved.

Today I walked quite a bit. This morning, I convinced my wife that we should walk to work, so that I wouldn't have to use my car to take her there. We went the same route I usually take, and everything was relatively ordinary about the walk, except I noticed that the house I usually like to pass with the chickens and ducks in the front yard, has big rabbits too. It's a small urban farm I guess.

When I got home, I looked up a couple shoe stores that might carry a specific walking shoe that I've been wanting, and decided to walk to each of them to see if I could find a pair in my size. I already talked to an employee at new balance, who informed me it was a discontinued style, but I figured it was a good excuse to walk, and that I might get lucky.

That's when things got interesting.

SE 82nd ave is always unsavory when viewed from the inside of a car, but even more so when you're on foot. It goes back to what I said about really being able to take in the sights (and smells) around you when you're on foot, and how you just don't get the same experience with any other kind of getting around. I could list any number of interesting things I saw on my hike, but to be brief, I'll just list the two stand-outs. First, on my my way south on 82nd, I watched a guy in a white cargo van pick up a prostitute. I'm pretty sure I've witnessed similar situations before, but again, on foot, close enough not to make out the words in the exchange, but still the sounds of the two voices, the situation was more real (live?) than I've ever experienced. I think there's something about viewing anything through glass that separates you from the moment. He pulled up; there was a brief moment when their eyes locked, and then the woman looked over her shoulder, maybe to assure herself that he was indeed looking at her, or maybe to assure herself that it was a safe moment to approach the van. She did, and leaned on the drivers side door. Their voices were low, and the exchange was brief. She acted more familiar with him than he did with her. She was probably more used to the scenario than he was. After a few seconds passed, she ran around the front of the van to the passenger side door, as he leaned across the bench seat and unlocked the door. At this point I had walked past them, and not wanting to stare, kept looking straight ahead. I heard the van pull out, and after a few seconds, I looked over my shoulder to see where they had gone, but the van was no longer on 82nd.

I walked out of Portland, and into Clackamas on my walk. I did find one store that carried the shoe, but not in my size. Another branch had it, and they're going to have it sent over to the one I visited today in about a week. After succeeding at finding a lead on the shoes, I decided I didn't have to walk any further south on 82nd, so I began to return the way I had come. Staying on 82nd, because I believed being on such a visible corridor through this area was probably my safest option.

Not long after I began my walk back, I think I saw a dead person. Up close. I had been walking along the sidewalk, when I heard a siren in the distance. In a few seconds, I realized it was headed not much further up the street than where I was. A car was pulled over, but it didn't appear to have hit anything. There were no people in the front, but in the back, two small children were turned in their seats, looking through the back window at something directly behind them. As I approached the car, I saw two people crouched in the street; their bodies partially blocking the view of a man on his side. As I arrived at the scene, the ambulance had pulled up and the EMT's hopped out and ran past me. Along side the man now, I could see that he was not moving. His eyes were open, but I got the impression that he wasn't "looking" at anything. If he was breathing, I could not detect it. The side of his head that was laying against the ground was swollen, and there was a lot of blood under it. I couldn't see any scrapes, and his body was resting in a mostly natural position. There was no sign of what had happened in the minute or two before I arrived in that spot, and I did not ask. Again, I've seen things like this before, but in person, without the glass in the way, it was different. It will be a while before I forget the blank eyes.

I didn't walk straight home, but after seeing the bloody body in the street, the rest of my walk doesn't seem interesting enough to write about.

March 2nd
21.5 miles today
30.92 miles cumulative
1.2368 total gallons saved