Sunday, March 11, 2018

Broad Street Bent

No one is shy on Broad Street, a fact you learn when you walk some part of it just about every day.

A man has stopped and is looking at me as I approach him walking down Broad. "Are you that lady who walks in the summer with the shorts and great legs?" Um, yes?

He breaks out in a huge grin. "I knew it was you! I could tell by the way that you walk! Keep up the good work." For you, stranger? Anything.

I'm at the Dugout, a dive bar out on Mountain Road, standing in front of the jukebox with a dollar in hand. A woman sitting at the bar comes over and hands me two dollars so I can play more songs, though she makes no requests or demands. A stranger trusting a stranger's music taste, nothing more.

Just then, a man sitting near my elbow at the bar looks over and asks, "Aren't you the girl that's been walking by the barber shop for, like, 20 years?" I immediately know he means Salon Z ("Come on in and get fresh!" their sign has read for all those years, which is actually 12, not 20) and confirm my identity.

Truth is, I'm amazed that even out of context and so far from where he usually sees me (near Belvidere on Broad) he nevertheless recognizes me.

I go back to punching songs in the jukebox, beginning with Bill Withers' "Ain't No Sunshine When She's Gone," which gets me a high five and praise from my female patron. Meanwhile, I'm still considering and choosing songs when my second selection, Marvin Gaye's "What's Goin' On?" unmistakably begins.

The well-groomed barber looks over at me, smiles winningly and says, "Now don't go givin' away all the Broad Street secrets!" Never.

Local fixture Special K has proposed to me on Broad Street twice, once with the promise of a Corvette if I agreed and another time sweetening the pot by saying he'd feed me lobster dinners. I accept neither offer of marriage, but appreciate that he's offering more than just a husband.

Walking along Broad Street another morning, I see a group of well-dressed construction managers - one woman, three men - all in hard hats, standing in front of a building renovation in progress. The woman steps in front of me and gestures at one of the guys.

"I'd like to introduce you to my main man, Chris, here. He's smart and funny and a real good catch. And, he's single!" She's so casually forward about it that I smile and ask what makes her so sure I'm single, too?

She raises her eyebrows and says, "Oh, you're single!" Caught. I admit I am, but keep walking.

You gotta walk Broad regularly to merit this kind of attention. I do.

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