June 28th FFU*
*FFU=Friday Follow Up. Friday Follow Ups are posts where I describe what I’ve been up to for the last week on my Portland Walkabout. I have a goal to walk 2000 miles around Portland before the end of the year. Check it out!
Micah and I walked to another cafe today and worked on my Transplant! game some. I’ve been having trouble with my computer crashing, so some very frustrating time was spent starting my computer over several times. I finally gave up and came home. Later, I walked with Micah to his dialysis clinic.
I have to say a couple of things happened while I was out Thursday evening that I’d like to share.
First, during our walk to Micah’s clinic, a hipster-looking kind of guy walked up beside us and matched pace with us for a while. We had a little conversation.
Hipster: “Hi! Out for a stroll?” (Who says “stroll”?)
Micah (matter of fact, but cheerful): ”No. I’m walking to dialysis.”
Hipster: ”Dialysis? Whoa.”
Hipster: ”Why? Er… I mean, I know why, but…um…how–?”
Micah: ”It’s diabetes-related kidney disease.”
Hipster: ”Wow. That’s like…whoa. I don’t even know what to say.”
Hipster looked uncomfortable, yet fascinated. He looked like he was afraid to ask, even though he was curious. The battle for Must Have Information vs. Must Respect Privacy vs. Do I Really Want to Know and Face My Mortality was on.
Me: ”Yeah, he’s gotta go a few times a week.”
Hipster: ”Yeah. Dialysis. Man. I just…I just don’t know what to say. So…I guess I won’t say anything. Um, you have a nice night.” He turned the corner around the block and continued on without us.
Apparently the Must Have Information faction of his brain lost. For some reason, I thought hipsters were supposed to be into irony and stuff. Isn’t death the ultimate irony? This hipster didn’t seem to appreciate it, anyway.
This is pretty normal, I’ve found. People are curious about Micah’s amputation, and will ask how he lost his leg. That’s like rubber neckers trying to find out the gory details about a bad accident. But if he mentions he’s on dialysis, it’s like people don’t want to hear. I think dialysis scares them, because they know without it, people die. It brings up the ugly specter of death, something they don’t want to think about.
The other interesting thing that happened Thursday evening was that I shared park space with the reincarnation of the inspiration behind Sandro Botticelli’s Birth of Venus.
It was amazing. I first saw this girl from behind and thought she was kind of tall and lanky. Some of her waist length flaxen hair dangled in locks behind her back, with the rest gathered and swept over her shoulder. I remember she caught my attention because of her hair. It was so pretty! That, and she was running around barefoot on bark chips in the kids’ play area. Ouch. I remember being amused and wondered how old this girl was.
When she turned and I finally got a good look at her face, I had to do a double take. Oh. my. word. She really was the woman in that painting! She looked like she couldn’t be more than fourteen or fifteen, but she was radiant. You know how in the old oil paintings, it seems like the alabaster skin almost glows? (Not as in ghost white glow, but glow in a way that makes them seem perfect. Like if the portraits were alive, they would have perfect skin, the kind of skin we ladies all dream of.) Her skin was like that. It glowed. My imagination was captivated, and I couldn’t help but imagine her in Renaissance style richly embroidered Italian robes, perhaps the daughter of nobility or maybe a wealthy merchant’s daughter.
I love people watching just for this reason. Being a writer, I have a rich imagination. There have been many times in the past that things I observe end up in my writing. People’s quirks are interesting, and I enjoy making characters out of those I come across. Usually characters are an amalgamation of a bunch of different traits I may have witnessed. But this girl I saw Thursday was special. I think maybe she’ll deserve a character all her own one day. :)
Thursday I walked 6.46 miles.