I was out for a long walk today and I saw one of my all-time favorite people.
No, not the 70-something woman (?) who walks around my 'hood in a big, curly platinum blonde stripper wig, prom dress and beauty-queen sash (no lie- I love her too, though).
Today I saw Carl:
Carl is a wonderful, gentle-hearted guy that rides around my neighborhood on his pimped out bicycle and fluorescent orange safety vest. He's always got the radio playing and a smile on his face. He's kind of a savant, and on one occasion at the grocery store I found myself having a conversation with him. A very friendly and warm guy, he knows more about cars than probably any other human being to walk the planet. He must have seen me get out of my car, because he proceeded to amaze me with everything that he knew about my crappy 1997 Jetta.
He knew the year, the engine type, what type of preventative maintenance I should be getting (but obviously don't) and various problems associated with that particular make & model. I just stood there with a stupid look on my face, impressed at the information in this guy's head. I can't even remember to wash the beast, and he knows the model number of my brake pads.
The first time I encountered Carl I was a little apprehensive. If you don't already know that he's the safest, gentlest soul on the planet, the sight of this dude on a three-wheel bicycle bedazzled with lights, stickers, a radio, a canopy, reflectors and mirrors can be a little unsettling. Withing about 5 seconds of meeting him, however, any thoughts of him being a bicycle-riding thug pretty much disappear.
He lives fairly close to me, and I walk by his place a lot. It's a pink two-story with about 400 lawn ornaments in the yard. He must either be a hell of a precision lawn-mower, or he must take them all down to mow the lawn, because his yard is always pristinely manicured (unlike the jungle we usually have forming at our place). His house seems like the happiest place in St. Paul.
There is a short documentary out about Carl,who I consider the best choice for an ambassador for my neighborhood, called "Mr. Positive".
Carl is awesome and I am glad he's my neighbor. Maybe I'll even add something sparkly to one of my bikes in his honor this spring.