Gum, spit, piss, bird shit, dog shit, broken glass, cigarette butts, the occasional splash of vomit, and garbage of all sorts – I keep my eyes peeled for the everyday detritus of the sidewalk. I try to also keep an eye on what’s ahead and behind: dogs that come sprinting out of nowhere, kids that come shrieking and cycling and bouncing balls, motorbikes and bicycles and trucks that come careening through intersections and over the curb.
I didn’t used to give too much thought to any of the stink and strangers of cities. In ballet flats and combat boots, I schlepped myself through scummy scenes of San Francisco, Portland, Dublin, London, Berlin, Galway, and Los Angeles. Always with headphones, sometimes quite drunk, mostly in a bubble of my own.
That was before. When I moved through life alone.
Now I walk with a little one. The light of my life. Who is easily startled by some of these things we encounter, and steps obliviously right into the others. Who, when we go home for the evening, will roll happily on my pillows, lick her toes, and then lick my face.
We toddle our way along slowly, stopping often, sometimes out of wariness, others out of curiosity. Sometimes we watch strangers walk by in wide-eyed silence, and other times we cackle abuse at the birds in the trees.
I should probably mention that my little one is a cat.Read More