Walking up the sidewalk, I see a man that is a sight to be seen. 6’5”, at least. Not an ounce of fat or muscle. He’s all sinewy legs and arms. Long, easy stride, and stooped at the shoulders. Silver grey hair. I guess him for approximately 70 years of age. He wears an old-fashioned tennis hat, the sort I remember my father wearing, but this gentleman’s hat is made of a brightly colored fish patterned cloth, something my father would never be caught dead in. His plaid short sleeved button down shirt is equally brightly colored with all the pastel hues of cheerful summer, and his un-faded denim shorts, pressed with creases in the front and back, are, well, short. Way too short by today’s standards, but on-trend for, say, 1978. Black mid-calf socks and decidedly au-courant, fashionable day-glow chartreuse running shoes. He makes me think of a clip art cartoon of a retired man on vacation at the beach.
Young woman crossing the street at the light. She’s in her 20s. Brassy bleached platinum blonde hair with black roots is haphazardly tied up in a high ponytail, contrasted by a precisely combed swirl of bang placed flat on her forehead, just so. Giant “Jackie O” black rimmed dark, dark sunglasses mask almost all of her small face, and bright red lipstick exaggerates her pout. Sheer black blouse with a flouncy Peter-pan collar and little cap sleeves worn with a lacey black camisole underneath. High waisted, form-fitting, cherry-bomb red pencil skirt, hemmed perfectly just below the knee. Long slit up the back so she can walk. Sheer black hose and a pair of little girl’s patent leather Mary Jane tap shoes, complete with large satin bow on the straps and taps. I feel my body tense when I notice the taps. Experience taught me those things are slippery on hard surfaces, like the asphalt on which she is walking.
He’s three. Maybe four. Shirley Temple curly blonde locks, and dressed in a sky blue Baby Polo shirt, mint green Baby whatever-label plaid shorts (worn like the big kids wear them: a bit baggy, waist right at the hip and hem below the knees), no socks and Baby Vans in a matching blue/gray. Momma clearly knows her expensive Baby clothing brands. He’s trailing behind Dad as the two of them make their way up the hill to where Dad parked the car. Today is the kind of hot summer day that makes Northwesterners feel like wilted lettuce, and this little guy is having none of it. Arms and head flailing about, he screeches at his father to stop walking. “C’mon bud,” Dad encourages. “We gotta get in the car and go home!” Confident his son is keeping up behind him, he marches on. Our little friend, however, stops in his tracks. “HOT!” he yells, and in one swift move, pushes down his shorts, diaper and all. Leaving shorts and diaper at his ankles, he then goes to work on his shirt and has it mostly off when Dad finally turns around to see his son doing his best to get naked. Dad jogs back down the hill, scolding his son to stop undressing. The boy screams and then starts crying, “HOT!! NO! HOT!! NO NO! WAAAA!!!” He keeps screeching as he fights off his father’s attempt to redress him. Finally put back together, Dad scoops the boy up in his arms and once again begins the trek to the car. He sheepishly smiles at me. “Sorry,” he says. I laugh. “Oh, well, I’m menopausal, so, believe me, I get it. How many times a day I wish I could just tear it all off!”