#373: Five People Living in the Same World

September 15th, 2014

I was a bit too stunned to ask the men why they were carrying crates of live pigeons.

I don’t even know if “crates” is the right word. Trays of pigeons? Pallets of pigeons? Port-o-coops?

Whatever the contraptions were called, the men piled out of the mid-sized car carrying two of them just packed to the brim with pigeons.

There were three of them, older, with mustaches. They were Latino and two of them carried mesh-topped plywood containers covering about the floor space of a regulation Clue board. A Clue board port-o-coop just packed to the brim with pigeons is apparently lighter than it would appear, as the men were able to carry them by a lunchbox-style handle on top.

One of the men nodded at my friend and I gaping. He gave a little proud smile, aware of the oddness he was creating by walking from car to small apartment on a sunny afternoon with a crate of pigeons.

The pigeons looked confused.

She was young, which means younger than me. She was still probably an adult who could own property, rent a car and run for some, if not all, American political offices.

A little boy ran out of the taco stand, yelling something back at her about, of all things, negotiations. She followed, sacks of Mexican food in hand, smiling and waving bye at the boy.

She had long blonde hair and a big smile. It was dark and I was sitting on a bus bench waiting to go north.

I must have yawned.

“No yawning!” she commanded, giving my shoulder a little squeeze as she passed by the bus bench. “It’s too early.”

She smiled back at me for a moment, then kept walking south. I sat, staring at the retreating figure of a stranger who had touched me.

“Let it roll, baby, roll!” the boy sang loudly as he rolled past on his bike.

The bus had come and now I was north, waiting to cross the street to my grocery story. The boy, a bit chubby and maybe about 9 or 10, rode by with an older brother riding on the back, perched on those rods that sometimes stick out of the back wheels of bikes.

As the younger one continued his yodeled “Roadhouse Blues,” the older one jumped off. Momentarily unbalanced by the lack of rider, the younger one wobbled slightly, bumping up against the side of a building.

“Let it roll, baby, roll!” he continued.

We crossed the street, walking up Ashland a bit until we got to the joint Jewel/Kmart parking lot.

“We’re going to race to the Jewel!” the boy called to his parents.

His father called something to him in Spanish that I can only assume from context meant something along the lines of, “Don’t.”

“We’re going to race to the Jewel!” the boy called back, either not hearing them or pretending he didn’t. “He’s going to go as fast as he can and so am I!”

With that, the boys took off, one running and the one who sang Doors lyrics to the world pursuing on bike.

Three men had pigeons. A woman squeezed a stranger’s shoulder. A little boy sang.

They won’t be friends. They won’t be enemies. They’re less than strangers. The five never came across each other, just all on one Saturday in September encountered the same sixth.

Just blocks away, but unaware the others exist. Five people living in the same world.

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