So today I went out on a mini-photowalk around my neighborhood. I wanted to get some air, since I had been cooped up in my apartment since my birthday last week, and I also needed to drop a couple of movies in the mail.
So Himself and I set out, walking north on Martin Luther King Drive. We crossed Claremont Ave and continued north, snapping a few photos here and there as we saw fit.
As we walked, we encountered Mr. Willie, an older man dressed in a work uniform and carrying what looked to be a gas-powered lawn trimmer. He looked to be in his late 50s or early 60s and had crossed MLK Drive. As he walked toward us, he noticed that Himself had a camera and asked to have his picture taken. He smiled, and joked; Himself snapped a photo, and we went our way, Mr. Willie continued walking east.
So Himself and I continued walking up MLK Drive to the post office. I dropped my movies into the mailbox, and we continued over to the MLK Plaza, which is a small shopping center with a grocery store, a laundromat, a Payless shoe store, a discount or “Dollar” store, a check cashing spot, and some other smaller vendors inside. We went to the dollar store to grab some batteries, came back out and walked toward the supermarket.
We reached the end of the parking lot and made a left to walk toward Ocean Avenue. I snapped a few photos, and out of the corner of my eye, I see Mr. Willie walking toward me. He shouted, “Oh, you have a camera, too, I see. He has a camera, and you have a camera! How ’bout that!”
I laughed…while snapping this photo of him walking toward us. He’s got the trimmer in one hand, and a cigarette in the other. His hat is turned back, he’s sweating profusely, but he’s grinning broadly like he was so excited to see us.
So he asked us, “Where are you two from?” We respond, “we live in the neighborhood, around here.”
I noticed that when people in my hood see me with the Nikon, they automatically assume I’m a reporter or the police.
When I assure them that I’m not, they either ask me to take a photo, or they start telling me their life story.
Mr. Willie was no different, and proceeds to tell us his life story. He moved to Jersey City in 1959 from the south. He’s 65 years old. He rattled off all of places he’s lived in the Greenville area, had to be at least 6 or 7 addresses.
He has 8 kids and something like 27 grandkids.
He just left his son’s house, where he cut the grass.
(Record player screeeeech!) Huh? Shouldn’t it be the other way around?That’s strange.
He is no longer living with his wife, and he’s pretty pleased about that, because his wife, who happened to be 47, was cheating on him. He was pleased because he didn’t feel it to be fair to be tied down by a woman who obviously didn’t care about him anymore, by virtue of the fact that she was cheating. He recounted how he caught her with her lover and scared the lover off.
So many sordid details, my eyes were beginning to glaze over. I’m thinking, this is way too much TMI.