Wednesday, May 02, 2007

I Love You Sleeping Worker

Today, for lunch, I ate two sandwiches garnished with dill and chard from the garden. Then I walked back to the office from home. I usually ride my bicycle back, but I had a flat tire and I didn't want to switch out the tube right then. It's about a two mile walk. Probably the most walkable two miles in all of Houston. Nearly the whole way the sidewalk is shaded by oaks and magnolias. I walk down Woodhead street through the lower Montrose over I-59 and into the elite neighborhood near Rice University. The trees over there don't just shade the street, they form perfect canopies. Most of the people outside in that neighborhood are brown like me. They're landscaping or taking white babies out for a stroll. Of course, I don't pass among them. My spectacles and at least a dozen other markers give me away as someone walking to the campus.

After I crossed Rice boulevard and entered the campus, I noticed a facilities worker sitting on the grass by the side of the road. He had his back resting against a tree and his legs stretched out in front of him. I thought he might be sleeping, but I couldn't tell because of his sunglasses. From about ten feet away, I heard him snoring. As I passed him, I saw a line of saliva hanging from his lip, gleaming brightly because the sun was hitting it at just the right angle. I thought about taking a picture of him with my cell phone camera, but was afraid that even allowing my camera to record the light bouncing of his body would ruin the perfection of his sleep. So I just kept walking and smiled for five minutes straight.


Furrow said...

that's lovely. I think I'll go find a stranger to love today.

Bookgirl said...

Very nice. I remember the facilities workers from my days at Rice fondly. Most of the people I met worked at least two jobs -- Rice for the benefits and somewhere else like Fiesta or Taco Bell for the extra income. All to support families they could rarely see because they were always working. I'm glad the fellow you saw was taking some time to enjoy the day, or at least take a rest.

And I used to make a very similar walk, bike ride or occasional drive from my apartment on Richmond and Graustark. I always made a point of traveling on North or South Blvd, then heading down Mandell to campus. Thank you for making me nostalgic for Houston. Again.

J. said...

Great story. Great blog, too! We're neighbors, it seems . . . I'm glad I found this blog by accident. You made my week. (See my Houston babies here: