Someone recently asked me "what's it all about?" and for some reason it reminded me of a recent walk.
Block One: It was a Sunday morning. I woke up, got some coffee and took the dogs to the park, where I somehow managed to lose my car key. So I walked home to grab the spare and got it together to walk back to my car. As I rounded the corner of block one, I come across the house that had recently had a Wild West style shootout two weeks prior. It was a sunny Saturday afternoon when I listened at the door as multiple guns fired off multiple shots. It turned out that part of the shooting occurred at my neighbors who had one of those houses that was always having a weekend BBQ. They worked on cars all the time, mostly low riders, and were really nice guys who were always excited to show-and-tell a new ride. Unfortunately, old gang ties die hard and so did one of them. As I walked past the house this Sunday, there was no sign of life like there usually was on a weekend. Nothing but the deceased's Suburban quietly parked in the driveway. I thought about what must be going on inside the house, or with the family at that moment. Even their dogs seemed sad. A nice sunny Sunday and no one was polishing a coupe in front of the house while music blasted, it just wasn't right.
Block two: I crossed the street and continued my walk. Past the new cafe with the nice patio but silly name and quickly noticed a couple walking on the sidewalk towards me. It was a man in his late sixties or early seventies with a meticulous wardrobe. Clean pressed chinos, new running shoes, and a red v-neck that was perfectly tucked into his pants (I know, so rad) while the woman had one of those patterned scrub tops that home nurses seem to favor. She asked me if I could help her turn him around and walk him home, mentioning that he "wasn't all there." I said sure and actually meant it. I didn't fully understand what she needed, but I grabbed his sweater and said something like "hey, let's go this way." A strange stare down began between us. He didn't look that old, or crazy. More like your average, working class, clean cut Asiexican. (Honestly, I couldn't tell which.) Nothing seemed to be registering, so I went into dog-owner mode: "come on... come on... you can do it." He eventually turned around and began walking. Slower than cold molasses, but walking. The nurse told me It was her first day with him and he had just wandered out of the house. His name was Cesar (that answered the Asiexican question) and her name was Kiki (or Chichi, or Nana). Rounding the corner, we see a four-year-old kid. Cesar still hasn't made the smallest of facial expressions this entire time. About a driveway away from the kid, he stacks hard on his little bike. As we get closer, he starts babbling about watching his dad's stuff while he's gone, ...his five motorcycles that all work except the dirt bike because the wiring is broken and he once saw his dad race in the desert and his bike doesn't have training wheels, see? All through the muffle of a gigantic full-faced helmet. All of a sudden Cesar lights up laughing over the kid and his banter. Maybe that's all Cesar was looking for out of the house? A good laugh or an entertaining face. I'd agree with him if he told me Kiki, (or Chichi or Nana) was kind of boring, because she was. We all said our goodbyes as Cesar was now home and I continued on.
Block three: I crossed the street and there was a tennis ball in the gutter, so I picked it up. As I went to bounce it, there was a prank ball moment where it barely bounced back. Turns out it was a real dog ball, with a duller bounce. So I started bouncing it really hard with each step and it felt really good. Rounding the next corner I saw a dog in a yard I'd never seen before. He was sniffing the corner of his fenced zone, one of those short haired labs that are kind of pitbullish in girth with a big head, but super sweet and friendly. I pet him on the head and said hello, he said hello back. I then asked if he wanted the ball and he said "eff-yea!" so I gave it to him. My dogs have more toys then they know what to do with anyway. My new dog friend was happy with the ball and with our new friendship and so was I. I said my goodbyes and see you soons and continued on wondering what else could possible happen on this short stroll.
Block four: I was finally coming close to my car, and thinking of the walk. I decided that if I retold this story I'd say that I found the key. Sure, it's dishonest, but sometimes bending the truth for maximum effect outweighs the dishonesty. Though I'd be lazy to not at least give another stab at looking. I headed down the path kicking the tall grass aside for awhile until there it was, a Volkswagen black key. A total "eff-yes" moment was had by all (me and the key) and I headed back to the car with a smile.
So what's it all about? I'm not really certain for sure, but a four block walk in Los Angeles gave me a little better idea.
Follow Steven Nereo on Twitter: www.twitter.com/single_ape