When I got to North Gate, The Crew was there — I refer to them as The Crew because they’re often hanging out around there. Today’s configuration was especially canonical.
Allison, a thin black man with a salt and pepper beard, is almost always wearing huge dark sunglasses. He diligently sweeps the sidewalks around northside, gathering the leaves into piles, although I don’t think I’ve ever seen him throw the leaves out. This time he was sweeping up outside the parking lot. When not sweeping, he usually stands outside Seven Palms or the Korean BBQ on Euclid, asking for change. I’ve never seen him outside of Northside. He is very friendly.
Angry Man is not so friendly. The first time I encountered him he was storming down Oxford street and flipped me the bird as he strode by. He’s tall, black, with dreds and glasses, and always wears his backpack. Today he was in his usual spot, leaning on the wall on the NE corner of the intersection. If you walk past him in this mood, he usually mutters some insult under his breath, like “what a bitch” or “fuck off,” barely loud enough to hear. Sometimes he tries to kick people after the walk past, but he always launches the kick too late so that it won’t connect. I suppose it helps work off aggression. He’s never directly asked me for money, but I see people go up and give him money.
The Conversationalist sits on the low wall outside the Journalism School across the street from Angry Man. He’s white, with strawberry blonde curly hair, although I think it’s going white. He too has glasses, and a pair of old thin headphones with a walkman. He is constantly talking to someone, explaining or debating some point, usually political. He has never asked me for money, or indeed shown any inclination of talking to anyone other than his supposed conversation partner. Perhaps he is talking to the radio or a tape.
The Crew are regulars on the Northside scene. You don’t always see them there at the same time; Angry Man and The Conversationalist wander pretty far and wide. But this morning’s everydayness prompted me to write down these notes.