Thursday, July 22, 2010
The Walking Man
Last night a Silverlake fixture passed away - The Walking Man - a 58 year-old retired doctor, Marc Abrams, who walked 15 miles a day around the neighborhood, usually just wearing a pair of shorts. He was exceedingly tan, and read the paper while he walked. In the winter, he'd wear a thin winter jacket, and it was clear he wasn't wearing a shirt underneath. Still the shorts - I don't think I ever saw him in pants.
It's funny - I never met the man, but I feel a little sad. Wistful, maybe. Facebook is full of people who are shocked at the news - it's surprising how many people can be affected by the loss of someone they don't know.
He stands for something in the neighborhood, though. Something that's local, special, a little out there but in no way dangerous. He was even painted in a mural on Sunset. Comforting, like an odd uncle, and someone that everyone had an opinion about -
"I hear he's a doctor" - check
"He must have some kind of obsessive condition" - not really, turns out he had rheumatoid arthritis, and walked to alleviate pain.
"He must be homeless" - not, just an individual who liked to walk. Shirtless while reading. Quite a sight. Even in the darkness, with a flashlight.
I saw him at least once a week, if not more, usually Saturday mornings on Griffith Park Blvd, though sometimes I'd see him of an evening on Hyperion. It was like sighting a hummingbird. There's something of a comfort in it - here I am, in Silverlake. The guy is walking and reading, I love my neighborhood. And he always tipped off some kind of story, a little question about what made him tick, and what would make him walk that much. And not a slow walker, to boot, he really made time.
There's not to much to ponder, I suppose. He was a fixture that made me happy about where I live. That will continue, I'd imagine, but without this particular talisman. He will surely be a missed sight.
Rest in peace, resting feet.