I like to walk. I walk out my door turn right at the corner and at the half mile point I reach the neighborhood strip mall where I turn right again. The last store is Carvel*, and next to that is an area of grass with benches facing inward. Usually people eating ice cream or waiting for the wash cycle in the laundromat sit there if the weather is good. On Sunday there was a teenager sitting on one of the benches smoking, his bike on the ground next to him. I had three thoughts: “What an a-hole. Why on earth would a kid nowadays be smoking?” This is my standard thought reaction. The second thing I wondered about was the size of his bike. It wasn’t an “adult” one but was small. Maybe something a preteen would ride? But he was older than that. Not a young teen or an older teen – he looked like an in-between teen. You know what I mean. My third thought was “What a Round Face!”. Just in case you all wonder, I had dark sunglasses on and was not staring at him, the impressions were instantaneous as I approached and passed by.
I continued walking and at the corner crossed over to where the neighborhood pool* is. I followed the sidewalk alongside the fence until I was on the sidewalk alongside the road. I only take this route in daylight because it is a busy street and it doesn’t feel prudent to be there in the dark. This day, about 4:30, was mild and the sun was shining bright at a low angle to my right. I was listening to old Freakonomics podcasts on my iPod. (I know I drew musical notation but I don’t know how to draw economic notation so just use your imagination.)
I passed a development of newly finished houses (55 years and older only), a large fenced ball field/basketball court*, more houses, crossed a street and was abreast a moderate sized field of grass when I become aware of someone talking to me. The sun is in my eyes, I turn my head to the right and see Round Face talking. I held up my hand, said “Wait” and pressed the off button on my ear buds. He said “Oh. You couldn’t hear me.” He was smiling and had a pleasant expression on his face. An inch or two taller than me. He held out his phone and asked me to look at something. Now, last Thursday, I was downtown in the West Village, an area I’m not familiar with. I decided I felt so good that I would walk all the way back to Penn Station. At about 12th Street a man stopped me and showed me a piece of paper with an address and directions written on it. He spoke no English so I directed him via pantomime. This happens frequently in the city. This was my thought when Roundy asked me to look at his phone. The sun was in my eyes so I circled around until it wasn’t. I remember thinking that it is too bad if he has to face the sun instead of me. I take off my sunglasses and put on my reading glasses. He says something like “Yes. Put on your glasses.” Something like that. He cups the phone to get rid of the glare and I lean in to look, thinking he wants directions. Really.
Well you all probably know what was about to happen but DUH I didn’t. His cell phone has a cracked screen, upper left quadrant, I notice first, and then I see what he is so proud of. I don’t have to tell you. What did guys do before they could take close-up selfies of their stuff and go around showing off?
This occurrence mildly disturbed me. It wasn’t a threatening situation – he could have put a scare in me if he’d waited until I was passing by the large shady, shadowy sump – but where we were was open, sunny, with lots of traffic and I was just disgusted. I continued on with my walk, turning around periodically, deciding that if I saw one of the very rare police cars I would report him. I thought about this event on and off that evening and on Monday. I was pissed that I was having feelings of uneasiness when I contemplated going out for my daily walk. I decided that I would start out earlier, when school is just letting out and there are a lot of cars and buses on the local roads. I also decided to draw what happened before I went out – purge it from my psyche. I had a very nice uneventful walk afterwards.
*(if you click the “neighborhood” tag on this blog and look around you will find drawings of these sites.)
iPad; New Trent Arcadia stylus.
Apps Used: Procreate and Sketch Club
Everything drawn came out of my head. If it’s wonkier than usual or just plain wrong, well, chalk it up to Sketch Therapy.