It used to be, most mornings as I took the pup out into the moist California air, I would greet a certain someone.
I didn't know his name. (I still don't.) We spoke only 2 words.
Let me explain. I live in a neighborhood mostly populated with Russians who arrived in the 80's. That was a crisis time in the gay community. HIV was decimating it. The Russians were arriving - to cheap empty apartments. My neighborhood, although officially in boy's town, today is like a suburb of a foreign country.
In the evenings I see the retired women walking and talking. I hear Russian TV, Radio out of the apartment windows. At the park, the men stand around the picnic tables not-gambling. (I talked to an FBI agent in that park once.) I have to mention the pawn shops. Then there are the sex stores and adult theatre, although whether their clientele is gay or Russian, I would not know. I wonder about some stores. Those most likely fronts. The women's clothing and perfume store open at 7pm on Sunday or midnight on Friday. For what? Money laundering? Gambling? Human trafficking?
One can only guess what goes on behind these doors.
And even on the sidewalk, it's questionable. While I nod to the retirees, their grandchildren pull up in black Mercedes, high-five friends. Smoke cigarettes on the balcony. Less so the medical smoke - my musician/actor neighbors prefer as their "cure."
It had been almost a year since we saw each other. I was off to my office most mornings before we'd pass on the sidewalk.
It was several years before I knew which apartment complex he lived in. These mornings I find him standing outside it. He's recovered much in the past year, but still walks with a cane. I whirlwind past him with my dog, we echo our morning greeting. My hair much longer, not as purple. I wonder if he looks forward to it as much as I do.
It's not as if we have ever uttered more than 2 words to each other. We probably do not even speak the same language. I suppose there have been stranger interactions.
To me, it's just a delight in my morning routine. Why not? Who says I have to live by any rules of convention?