Watching the World Go By

One lovely Sunday afternoon, I had the urge to write but no real topic in mind or assignment to finish. It was also sunny and warm in the East Bay, with the flowers blooming and the trees and hillsides recovered from the winter drought, at least in color. It seemed like a waste of all that sunshine to stay inside. So I grabbed my notebook, got a cup of ridiculously bright red raspberry sorbet from the frozen yogurt shop down the street, and continued to Oakland’s sparkling centerpiece, Lake Merritt.

The adjacent “Splash Pad Park” was alive with activity! My neighbors ran or walked around the lake, lounged in the grass and commuted back and forth by car, bike and foot. I found myself a reasonably comfortable spot under a tree and started scribbling. Instead of a story or an essay, I decided to jot down a few random thoughts and all of the random diversity I noticed on my afternoon outing:

Why did I walk down to the lake, where there are loads of people, when I don’t want to be around people? Nothing wrong with people, there’s just too many of them.
Seen: Two Latino men on tiny, shiny cruiser bikes. Folding bike. Woman attempting to walk on a tightrope tied between two trees.
Horn ensemble. Trombone, tuba, trumpet, sax, drums. Average ability, happy tunes.
Lady carrying pillows.
Groups of friends laying on blankets, men throwing football.
The ice cream man – ski hat, push cart, walking swiftly.
People walking to yoga class. Bikes. Cars, stupid cars.
Heard: “Mercedes don’t give you the right to run over people!”
Seen: Shirtless man in long gym shorts, “jogging.”
Three small kids stuffed in a red wagon.
— Moved to a new tree with a better view – There are two trombones, two trumpets, two saxes. One Tuba. How would you find two?
Man on what looks like a recumbent cruiser hybrid.
Public Works!
20-somethings have a tent and a grill. I can smell their hamburgers.

Dear God, it’s 4:20 on 4/20! One of the men playing football just lit up and took a selfie with the gal in the straw cowboy hat.
New guys playing football. They look like gym rats but don’t go to my gym.
Bodybuilder on a bike.
Stunning couple: African American woman in long striped skirt and denim jacket, huge curls of hair, with blonde-haired man with a chiseled jaw.
Solo tenor sax, not part of the other group.
Bike bell.
The man I saw from a distance was jumping on the tightrope!
Kids stuffed in the red wagon are being wheeled away by one of the gym rats.
The band is called Brass Magic.
Friends of Brass Magic celebrate 4-20.
There are too many dogs in this city. Why does everyone have to have a dog now?
Where did he come from – corn cart man! Looks like he slathers ears of corn in butter and salt. And also sells Sno-Cones? Sno-Cones and Corn. Happy 4-20.
Two Asian guitar players on a bench to my left, by an Asian couple playing ball with their son, who looks about two. The mom has huge white sunglasses and a white clip in her hair that’s almost as big as a banana.
Corn-Cone man has a horn. Ice cream man had a bell. Is there a rule there?
Lady of Lourdes Catholic Church just chimed five o’clock.
Now I’m getting hungry again. Time to go!

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