Driving and Biking in the Big City

Urban observations

with 2 comments

PIIn a parking garage basement, an extremely thin woman stands against the elevators of a Texas Medical Center parking garage, smoking aggressively. She’s wearing a blue-patterned hospital johnny, with fortunately enough room to be closed in the back because of her slim frame. An IV pump on rollers is her constant companion. I smell her cigarette on every floor as I look for a parking space and most strongly on seventh/purple floor where I finally park. As someone who has lost two beloved siblings to lung cancer, I consider vigilantism. Then, decide to go on to work. We nod at each other and mind our own business.

My workmate buys Chipotle for a man who says he is hungry. I forget to ask what he ordered and will be sure and ask her next week. Her only complaint is trying to make conversation with him while they waited. “How’s the weather under the underpass?” comes to mind. Been there myself when I gave a guy some cash while I was buying gas. Didn’t count on him standing with me the entire time I filled my tank. What do you say? Never found any common ground.

Man in a polo shirt and khakis ranting at an office chair on rollers that he’d pulled between two newspaper racks.

Homeless man sits in a huge wrought iron chair, designed as art in downtown Houston, near the entryway to the HOV lane. He reminds me of a child, feet unable to touch the floor,  because of the extraordinary proportions. He’s sharing what appears to be a 12-inch Subway bun with about a dozen pigeons. I’m glad to see he’s not that hungry.

minionCartoon Minion hanging from a car’s bumper, dragging his stuffed creature feet on the concrete freeway. Followed him all the way from Kingwood to Houston. I love Minions and certainly relate as one who feels like a member of the rat race, on my own hamster wheel and with many masters. I don’t get it. We already are downtrodden. Right?

Homeless woman on Main Street with a filled shopping cart and several bags of belongings. I see a blanket, other clothing but am always curious at what one considers of value when you live on the streets. I never make out anything but clothing. The thought pops into my head that it’s fall and perfect weather in Houston. It won’t get too cold or too hot this night. Maybe 55 degrees at the lowest. She should be comfortable.

Dead  body on my way into work one day. Police photographers still taking pictures. Looks like he’d laid down outside the church soup kitchen and just didn’t wake up. Fully clothed, hands behind his head. Could have been sleeping still. Once again, I become the chameleon and put myself in his shoes. Seemed like he may have chosen for himself.  As an old police reporter, I’ve seen my share of dead bodies — this one didn’t seem violent. Can’t say I am surprised or even sad. On the other side of the half-century mark (and, for me, even before) death has become a huge part of life.

On my way to get a new hair do on Montrose, I see a business owned by someone who must be leading my parallel life. “Private Investigations” it says. Locksmith tools, cameras, phone and computer forensics. I always wanted to be paid to be nosy, maybe on a stakeout with Dr Peppers and Cheetos. Seems like a great job.

Ran into one of the world’s leading breast cancer experts on my walk to my car for the commute home, and his smile upon seeing me pleased me beyond measure. “Where have you been,” he asked. We used to share a floor — with offices at both ends. What an inspiring, knowledgeable and kind soul he is. I’ve seen him be so tough and matter-of-fact and then kind, compassionate and at tears with kindness. And he’d miss me since my relocation. I’m so glad to be at this spot, at this time and seeing this person. We connect.



Written by commuterchroniclesdbh

November 14, 2015 at 5:58 pm

2 Responses

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  1. […] Source: Urban observations […]

  2. Denise, what an adventure you face each day. I like the song lyric, “Open the eyes of my heart Lord…” That’s how you see the world. So many folks drive by preoccupied with their day. You see people, a gift and a burden.


    November 17, 2015 at 4:14 am

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