Wednesday, September 21, 2005

The Wrong Turn

15th Avenue
(all photos taken with my PalmPilot)

I walk this way to work every day. Something I am thankful for now that gas is over $3.00 a gallon in these parts. Besides, I have found out long ago, to really know where you live, you have to get out and walk around. You have to walk in places where you are told not to go.

Between where I live and where I work, there are some very nice neighborhoods and there are some not so nice ones. But regardless, people live in all of them. They are people not that different from you and I. Some have more problems and some have a harder time dealing with them. There are a lot of wrong turns on my way to work.

But just because we are told not to take them, doesn't mean that people don't live down these streets. I know a lot of them show up at this store on the 1st and the 15th of every month. Their primary product comes with a twist off cap. Where ever there is a 'need' there is an entrepreneur ready to fill it on 15th Ave.

I call this the Hotel Overpass, where Interstate 10 goes over 15th Ave before plunging into the 'deck-park tunnel' where they built a park over the interstate. I see one or two of God's less motivated people sleeping here when I walk home. The police don't seem to mind. I suppose they have more pressing issues to deal with than interrupting Walter Wino's afternoon nap.

Most of the ghosts I see walking 15th Ave are waiting for something. Social Security checks. A free meal. Their next rock of crystal meth.

I often see people waiting here as well. This is the cemetery near where I work. Although, I don't like the term cemetery. It seems so cold. I prefer Monument Garden because it more accurately reflects what it is.

I think we are all trained as children to fear these places. They are locations of horror movies and zombies. Nothing could be farther from the truth. They are living history parks that have a thousand riddles. I lament that so many people are cremated these days with no real marker for their grave. I wander the grave stones in this park and realize that each one is the final bookmark in a life with a one page, often cryptic, summary.

Some are inspiring, some whimsical, some funny, others are sad. But they all speak to who ever reads them. "Don't forget me." "I lived once too." "I dreamt.", "I mourned", "I loved", "I wished." They don't have to set the alarm clock anymore. They don't worry about gas prices. They finished the race. I like to think that they figured everything out before they left. Something I am still working on.

After my walks it amazes me how far off course we get. We should all take more lessons from the obvious signs around us. The stress created by greed, envy and expectation don't ever amount to much. They just get you to the monument garden a bit faster. Take a lesson from 'Winker'. The top of the piano is as far as I need to go today.