I've been working on converting the front yard to ebdibles for a couple of years, it's a long process-- getting rid of bermuda grass, palm trees, planting fruit trees rearranging the dirt to create swales and lowered garden beds and so on. I hope to have it all finished by the end of this year, but spending a lot of time in the front yard has made me grateful to be an urban gardener (urban homesteader if you will). I see lots of people pretty regularly while I'm out there working, my close-by neighbors of course, and those are varied, kind and interesting people for sure, but today I'd like to talk about the other folks that pass by. So here are some brief profiles:
Backwards man: One of my favorites, he goes around the neighborhood several times a day in his wheelchair, backwards. We have brief conversations; when he sees me out working, he stops at my house to light his cigarette. Apparently he used to garden when he lived in San Diego. For awhile he got a motorized wheelchair and went forward, but he's recently returned to going backwards in a regular wheelchair. I asked him what happened to the electric chair (I'm sure this term isn't ideal) he replied, "It got a flat tire man, I'm totally bummed out!"
Murphy, the mayor of 14th St: I learned about the "mayor" part from a guy that lives a few streets away (on 14th St) that works at Home Depot. We figured out we were neighbors once when he was helping me with some appliance questions. Ironically, I see him nearly every time I'm at Home Depot and get caught up in neighborhood news, but have never seen him once around the neighborhood, but I digress. If there ever existed a man that would be well-served pedaling a bicycle instead of riding a converted one (powered by a lawnmower engine) it would be Murphy. However, he has lots of "business" around the neighborhood and must need to make his pick-ups and deliveries expeditiously. He's recently branched out from his uhm, herbal sales to making those irritating motorized bicycles. His sounds like a big giant bee, which sort of fits with his appearance, another one that he's made for a neighborhood guy sounds like a sputtering fart, and a third that was made for a possible business partner sounds like a mosquito, which brings me to....
The mosquito: Built like a mosquito, otherwise looks like a hippie. Almost like a cross-dressing hippie. He tends to wear a lot of tank tops and very short cut-off jean shorts. He used to ride an old ten speed around but then switched to this. He has a long-time lady friend that sometimes doubles up on the bike, but I have also seen him taking her around in a cart attached to the back of the bike that I'm pretty sure was made from an old wheelbarrow/dolly with the handles bent upwards for gripping. She looks a bit like the grandma from Beverly Hillbillies so the sight of this contraption going by will make anyone laugh and really brighten your day.
That old whore Lois: She's the neighborhood nuisance. Really the only regular pass-by that I really don't care for. I have no idea what her actual name is, but the term comes from a family member several generations back whose husband left her for, "That old whore Lois" Lois is always drunk/high and is often seen dressed bumbling around looking for business in a Jackie O-style outfit/sunglasses/scarf, with old beat up sneakers. She begs you for money with a variety of obviously untrue excuses and curses you if you don't give her any. No one gives her any. Her one positive point (that I've been able to find) is that she walks the dog that used to just stay chained up in the yard where she stays (I think it's an invalid's house who may be her grandfather). She peed on my neighbors wall a few months back.
The non-speaking dog-walker: A slight girl who looks to be in her early 20's that walks a great big hairy dog most everyday... in heels... that she can't walk in very well. I hear her clopping down the street and know who it is immediately. I usually say hi to her and she never says hi back. I don't think she's being rude, probably just shy, or maybe too focused on not falling over.
Jose: Jose unfortunately died of a stroke this past year, but he was one of my favorites and deserves recognition. His English wasn't great, my Spanish isn't great so our conversations were choppy. He always wanted to see what I was growing, we would talk about plants and cooking tips. One day he showed up in my front yard with some different agaves and instructed me to plant them, so I did. :) I showed him my two cotton plants once and he doubled over laughing saying, "You gonna beee reeeech!" I miss Jose.
I could go on, as there are a lot more, but this post is getting long. I'm so grateful to have this huge mix of folks surrounding me, maybe I'll do a part two to this post down the line.