He picks up trash…

“…we all chip in for it—all of the businesses downtown. We take care of him. His name is Ronald, and he is fiercely loyal. Once he learns your name, he never forgets it, and will say hi to you, pumping your hand up and down and looking straight into your eyes like he expects water to start pouring out of your mouth any moment. He rides his bike, and wears clips around his ankles to prevent his jeans from getting snagged by the gears. There is a plastic basket bungeed to a tray that protrudes over the back tire from the seatpost; I have no idea what’s in it, because his extendo-claw doesn’t fit. He doesn’t care where the trash came from, only that it’s his job to pick it up and smile at everything that moves. I remember his name and to pat him on the shoulder when we clasp hands in anticipation of the slightly vigorous, always friendly, dependably metronomic pumping. He pumps peoples’ hands like he smiles, with intentionality, friendliness, regularity. Like he picks up the trash on our sidewalks. I’ve seen him with a female friend a couple times who matches him exactly in height and spirit. We would give him free coffee when he comes in, but he insisted on paying the first few times we tried, so we don’t even offer anymore. Equitable, mutually beneficial exchanges of goods and currency, and of smiles and greetings, are of utmost importance to him.”

1 Comment

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One Response to He picks up trash…

  1. Gayla

    I like this glimpse into your work life in downtown CDA. Very well written-it held my interest.

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