I took a walk through the neighborhood today without my cell phone.
I smiled at a few people before I got anyone to smile back. Then, a man at the corner of Hollywood and Western told me I had good energy when I smiled at him. We walked South toward Sunset in the crosswalk, "My name is Eddie," he said, "In case I see you again,” and he went into the subway.
I cross Western with a gang of Thai boys and continue South touching the leaves that lean down toward the sidewalk. In Orchard Supply Hardware “Only the Lonely” warbles from invisible speakers in the nursery and I hear a boy with an accent straight out of South Carolina say “Violence is a natural thang,” when I peek into the employee breakroom as I pick up a canister of poppy seeds. The whole place has this smell that reminds me of the South-- fertilizer and Jasmine and whatever Carolina boy is having for lunch.
Making my way back North on Western I pass a woman crushing cans. Her eyes are so deep in her head I have to really look for them. “Good evening,” she says, her African accent painting wings on her words. “God bless you,” she says. And I bless her back.
At the corner of Hollywood and Western I stand waiting for the sign to cross. A young man asks me what kind of plant do I have. “Hot and spicy Oregano,” I tell him, because that is what the label says. “Are you hot and spicy?” He asks me, which comment causes his buddy to look up from his Blackberry and find out for himself. Just then the light turns green and I laugh as I cross the street humming “Seventeen,” by Janis Ian.
I continue down Russell, smiling at the old Armenian man who sits in a lawn chair on his stoop. He is the first one in a while not to smile back. His face says he doesn't trust my smile. Either that or he needs glasses. On my corner there’s a dog party. One pug, and four little white pooches of various make and model rolling in the grass. It’s an orgy of butt sniffing and post peeing and maybe even a little humping, I can’t be sure. In the courtyard of my building Kevin is having his first communion party, which apparently means he gets to throw a hula hoop at the other kids and that he had to get a haircut. His mother says hello, she’s blasting Nicaraguan Polka music. Which is fantastic if you ask me.
I didn’t take any pictures of any of this. I didn’t tweet about it. If the phone rang, I didn’t answer. There is no record of this day except that I wrote it down to remind myself that life is beautiful. Even if I don’t get what I want. Life is beautiful and it doesn’t cost a thing to smile at a bunch of strangers.