Checked the air in my tires before riding the beach path this morning. A man in a park services truck stopped to tell me the guys in the maintenance shed had air and would help me. I have no trouble using my hand pump with its built-in gauge, but the man was so kind, I felt compelled.
At the shed, another very kind young man checked my tires and asked how far I planned to ride. "Good for you," he said. "Don't give up. Riding your bike is very good exercise. You can do it."
Half a mile down the road, an extremely handsome man about my age pedaled up. "Look at you!" he said. You're going 12-and-a-half miles an hour! Good job!" We chatted for a few minutes before he picked up his pace and pedaled away. "You're doing great," he said. "Don't give up!"
A young woman wearing rollerblades cautiously stepped onto the path. Made-to-order boobs. Fully extended, bleached blonde hair. Eyebrows arched into permanent surprise. Kewpie doll lips shellacked with Kiss Me Kate pink gloss. A bikini top covered with turquoise sequins peeked from beneath a neon-pink t-shirt sliding off her shoulders. The front of her shirt read, "Wild Chick."
Another rollerblader on the Venice boardwalk. Black socks, black shorts, black t-shirt. Black and silver hair past his shoulders, hanging beneath a "cowboy hat" made from Jack Daniels cartons. In one black gloved hand, he held a clear plastic cup aloft like a torch. Pale amber liquid sloshed back and forth but not a drop spilled. "Breakfast! Breakfast!" he yowled.
At the end of the road, a homeless man lounged in the shade of a recycling can. Matted hair of an undetermined color. Plaid shirt and khaki shorts stiff with salt, sweat and sand. Layers of battered silver duct tape held the soles of his black Vans to the uppers. A clear plastic bag filled with hundreds of aluminum cans supported his back and another filled with plastic bottles cushioned his legs. Lips moving in silent rhythm, he traced the lines of a racing form.
Don't give up?