For me there is something serenely philosophical about walking the downtown area on a Sunday. I leave from my abode after I gather only the lightest items I will need for the day. I do this mainly because I know I will gather other items prior to my return making carrying said bag a challenge if I begin with too heavy a load in the first place. My bag is oversize and although some might call my bag a purse I think it lost its rights to be called a purse several dimensional inches ago. It is a bag! A bag to be filled with fruits and vegetables at the local farmer’s market or perhaps a new book I can’t live without from an open bookstore.
On Sunday not all shops are open but the ones that are suffer less foot traffic which I find appealing. I like to slowly browse the book shops and I like to meander in and out of foot traffic at the farmer’s market too, taking my time soaking it all in.
As always the walk is pleasant and the weather is agreeable. The people on the streets are not as friendly as I am use too having been away so many years living in the south. I painfully realize this is not the Mountain View of my youth. My friends and I were more likely to be smiled at fifty years ago as we rode our bikes around from dawn to dusk than kids are today. Today I sadly suspect they get frowned at a lot.
I find that when I speak to someone along my walk they are quite taken to looking away from me as if I were a disease carrying leper. It is shameful to encounter this fear from someone I might like to be friends with if given the chance. I am sure everyone I meet along the way are unique and wonderful people I would like to know better. But they look away.
It’s been over fifty years since I last walked the downtown streets. In the four months since my return I managed to find my old grammar school and the last house I lived in before leaving the area. The first house with the ivy growing up the side is long gone replaced by a parking lot of all things. The air base where my brother Lloyd worked seems so much closer than I remember and I swear to you that downtown Castro Street is longer than the one of my childhood. Even with the changes the downtown area is still charming and a wonderful place to spend a few hours. I liken it to perusing the pages of a good book. If I take my time I notice more and I like to notice things. I don’t like life rushing by me. I am experiencing the town of my youth , not as it was, but as it is today.
It is very disagreeable to me that the town has changed so much though. Maybe I wanted to return to the town as if it were lost in time. A Norman Rockwell painting, unchanged by scope and colors if you will. I wanted to walk into the ice cream pallor and order a vanilla, one scoop or go to the café for a cherry coke, extra syrup.
Maybe I want too much.
No matter. I am enjoying the Mountain View I find today. I am enjoying my Sunday walks or any-day walks for that matter to the downtown streets where I can enjoy its charm and get my walking in. It is a perk I am enjoying for the time being.