Curious Traveler

I’m sitting at the top of a city.

Looking over the busy streets.

Earlier I was walking on those streets.  I won’t deny some uncomfortable feelings.  There were so many people.  Though born in a city, and often times captivated by a city, I don’t think my soul is meant to exist in a city.

There’s something intriguing, though, about being up here.

I have a large window the length of my room that I have been looking out.  I am perched over an alley that intersects with a main road.  A busy, moving, breathing road.

Whether from down there, or up here, I could watch the people and their stories walking by me, for hours.

The buses are endless.  Which makes me ponder the number of people that are traveling these streets.

From my perch atop the city I have heard and witnessed a large mob of children yelling and running, then some of them running back.  I couldn’t help it but I watched to make sure someone wasn’t getting singled out or picked on.  I don’t know what I would have done from so far up, but it made me nervous.

I watched as three men appeared to be socializing on a doorstep.  Two sat on a stoop, one stood, then they traded places.  They kept standing up and hugging one another.  From their weaving, I suspect some inebriation was involved.  Suddenly two of them walked away, arms over shoulders, wobbly walking, they disappeared around the corner.  The fella left alone stood up and peed against the wall.  Three women walked his way.  He showed some …. preservation of dignity I suppose…. by turning his back towards the women and pivoting to keep his back to them as they passed.  He sat back on the door stoop.  Later a woman walked past him, right through the pee running down the sidewalk.  I hoped, as she walked unknowingly through the urine runoff, that she takes her shoes off when she walks in her home.

I saw a man in shirt sleeves run up the alley to the main street, round the corner and take off.  I hope he made his bus, or found what he was looking for.

I’ve seen quite a few older people toddling down the street, pulling those rolling shopping carts behind them.  Many of the women have scarfs around their necks.  Oddly, I’ve noticed a lot of them with very worn shoes, and the shoes are all tilted very far in, or very far out.  Like they are walking on the inside, or outside, of their feet.  It made me very sad.

I was approached by numerous beggars.  I saw wealth.  I saw poverty.

I watched as men and women biked or ran, working up a good sweat.

I saw impatient drivers and careless pedestrians.  Everyone thinking their right of way was most important.

But I also saw patience, and consideration, as drivers or walkers waited for others or waved others ahead of them.

I saw hand holding.

I saw indifference.

I heard more languages than I could identify.

I saw very tired looking people either heading home or heading out.  I could make up stories in my head but I really don’t know why they were coming and going, or where they were coming and going from.

While I was still ‘down there’ one very tall man was yelling at his very short girlfriend or wife.  She stood stock still while he waved his hands.  He stalked off.  She waited a few minutes then followed.  I saw them about an hour later holding hands.  He was “mansplaining” money to her.

I am glad that ‘up here’ I can’t hear the conversations.

I can look out the window and see lamps in apartment windows.  I know people are here living lives and this is their normal.

It is now dark as I write this and the figures walking are dark figures unless they are directly under a street lamp and they are briefly illuminated.  I am sitting atop my bed and I can still watch them.

The buses are still going.

The dark figures are still passing below.

Where is that man going?

Where is that woman coming from?

I don’t want to lie back and close my eyes to this world.