Hot on the sidewalk, a few steps off the bus stop, in the shimmery heat of summer meaning. A tattered and thin-shirted refugee from the air conditioned RTA ride approaches. We're near Lee & Mayfield and he wants to know if I know where Sandusky is. Because he looked as distracted and disheveled as I felt (late night show, early morning edit), I went all far-fetched on him. Thinking he was talking about convicted creep Jerry Sandusky I said, "In jail?" He looked at me like the summertime had already melted my brain.
Oh, he meant the city, and I said yea, Sandusky was a couple hours west. Second question, did I know Freemont? Okay, I'll bite—nothing better to do than shoot the geographical breeze with a stranger on a cracked patch of asphalt— wasn’t Freemont out near Sandusky?
Sir wispy shirt enthusiastically confirmed and then the moment of truth, his inevitable ask: $20 to get there. Of course he’s only asking because (insert garbled, confusing, haphazard explanation here). I reflect that these moments of summer sidewalk jive are far more likely in this neighborhood of scraggy landscapes, cigarette butts and high density traffic than in those of hushed-stone drives and manicured lawns. Economic heat hits the earth in differentiated zip codes.
I claimed broke & busted, shrugging my shoulders. The truth is, my allegedly Freemont-bound friend, is that I could care less if you make it that far west, just allow me to head north from this stinky sidewalk.