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Private Dancer (09/24/21)

For decades I have been getting up early and hitting the road for a walk just before the sun comes up each morning. There is something special about being out in nature, regardless where you are, as the sun rises.

With the advent of Fitbit in 2009 and my first device in 2010, I was able to track my steps through the use of an app instead of through a pedometer and a spreadsheet. I actually think this increased the distance I walked because now I could quickly see obtainable goals and could add minutes of walking as necessary to bring those numbers up.

Walking, though, tends to not be a solitary behavior, but in my opinion is best enjoyed with the company of others, and over the decades, there has been a myriad of people who have been along for the ‘walk.’

Some of my fellow walkers have been notable, while others just a human to chat with while getting in my steps.

My current walking partners are a couple of people who have quickly become good friends and a regular part of my life, outside of the early morning walks we enjoy.

Sheryl, a wonderful lady around my age, and Carlos, a young ‘kid’ more than half our ages, make for an interesting conversation group for our morning walks—and these days we walk rain or shine, cold or warm, joints hurting or not.

One of us is a staunch Democrat, another a staunch Republican, and the third, a staunch “who cares about politics” individual. This could make for some heated conversations, but we all agreed early in our walking adventure, that we all had our opinions about everything, we all had the right to express those opinions, as long as we respected the rights of the others and their opinions.

With many I have walked with the respect of another’s opinion was not part of the behavior, which leant itself to more harm than good during our walks. Walking should be a relaxing form of non-impact exercise, not an exercise in adding more stress.

Sheryl, Carlos and I have been walking for almost a year now, and our walks have become more and more of a form of entertainment, in addition to the benefits of the actual exercise.

Though our walking location is pretty benign as far as locations go, I mean we walk about the streets of Ontario and Rancho Cucamonga, California, the area still provides a wealth of daily entertainment. We frequently have to laugh about what our conversations would be like if we were walking on the streets of San Francisco, Chicago, New York, London, Barcelona or any other interesting big city, instead of the quiet suburbs of the Inland Empire.

Normally our walks are pretty quiet and uneventful, occasionally having to deal with the local wildlife, and the local homeless. Other than that, we have become accustomed to the daily morning greetings with a list of residents and workers that are also on the street at the same time we are.

One recent day, a new ‘friend’ began to add a little bit of entertainment and interest to our walks.

The first day we met, it seemed like one of those chance occurrences of simply being in the same space at the same time. Sheryl, Carlos and I rounded a corner to find a young guy who had just parked in an empty parking lot, getting out of his car and changing from his nighttime uniform to his daytime uniform.

We watched in amusement as he got out of his car, singing as loud as he could to the music being blasted out of his vehicle, and changing right in front of us. He kicked his shoes off, took off his shirt and tossed in the back seat, unbuttoned and pulled down and off his pants, leaving him standing there in nothing but his boxers and socks.

This first time he didn’t even notice we were in the area and watching, as he reached into the car, grabbed a different pair of pants that he pulled up and buttoned, wobbled between one leg and the other as he put on his shoes, then topped this behavior with a new t-shirt.

Finishing up, as he went to get back in the car, he noticed us walking by, and watching, and just smiled, never having stopped his singing, and drove off.

The three of us walking laughed, finding the entire few minutes entertaining, and continued on our walk. That first day the event didn’t seem like anything to write about.

The next day the three of us gathered at our apartment complex and started on our walk. We normally vary our route a bit just to ensure the walk doesn’t become too routine, but this day we had just headed the same direction as we had the day before, only to hear music emanating from a parked car before we rounded the same corner as the day before.

We rounded the corner and there again, was this young guy getting out of his car to change his uniform between jobs. This time, he noticed us coming around the corner, gave us a quick nod, and proceeded with what appeared to be a ritualistic change of clothes.

Shoes off, shirt off, unbutton, pants off, reach in, new pants on, button, stagger to put on shoes, topped by a shirt - and singing the entire time.

This second day, as we walked around the cul-de-sac watching our new form of morning entertainment, we realized this kid was probably low 20s, in incredible shape, and truly did like to sing—though singing lessons may have been advisable.

He didn’t seem to care that we were walking by, nor that we were watching him. It appeared to be entertainment for all of us, and something to break up the morning.

On the third day, we thought we should change our route a little and, well, give the guy some privacy to change, and headed down a different street.

After a few minutes on our new route, a car passed, music blaring, and parked in the empty lot a few hundred feet from our location. It was our new ‘friend’ from the previous couple of days, but this time it appeared he had seen us change our course and made a point to stop in front of us to begin his changing ritual.

Again we got a quick nod, clothes changing commenced, while he continued to sing, until the ritual was complete, and he drove off, the entire time us walking by, and watching his ‘routine.’

At this point we thought it was maybe a bit strange that he had made a point to make sure he was in front of us even though we had changed our route, but didn’t put much credence in it.

The following day we had decided to change our route even further, and at the end of our walk were slightly disappointed that we had not had our morning entertainment. Being a Friday, that meant our walking routine would change for the weekend, and didn’t think anything further about our new friend.

The following Monday, it was back to the weekday routine, and Sheryl, Carlos and I started our walk up the street and around the corner to the cul-de-sac. There in front of us was our friend, and he appeared to be waiting for us. As soon as we rounded the corner and were seen, he got out of his car and his ritual commenced.

Now we knew this was planned, and had to wonder exactly what was going through this guy’s mind, should we be concerned? We waved as he finished his ritual and drove off. He just smiled and kept driving.

The next day we decided to go a completely different route, not really to avoid our new friend, but more to just give the entire situation a break. It was out of the ordinary to have somebody ‘strip’ in front of you every morning, regardless of whether they were just changing between shifts.

About a half a mile from our normal route, we heard the sound of music approaching, and the screeching of tires as our new friend had apparently just found us, and adjusted his parking requirements to park along our path.

He seemed almost angry as he parked and got out of the car, almost like he was asking us why we had made him search for us. Then he smiled, nodded to us, and started his ‘stripping’ routine, again, singing out loud the entire time.

This time though, there was a ‘swagger’ in his movement, as he appeared to be dancing slightly to the music as he took off his clothes. And this time, he spent a few extra minutes just dancing in his boxers in front of us.

At first, we wondered if we should be concerned, but shook that thought off quickly, and as he finished his dance and got dressed, we clapped and waved and continued our walk.

This now became part of nearly every one of our weekday walks. Regardless of how we changed our route, we’d end up running into this guy, and he would change in front of us, now obviously dancing to the music and blatantly providing us with some entertainment.

Multiple times we missed our ‘private dancer’ and he would appear to be angry on the next day we would see him. Angry is probably not the best word, he appeared more ‘disappointed’ that we had changed our route to miss his dancing.

A month later, our private dancer is still a part of our morning walks during the weekdays, and continues to add a moment of levity. There is never anything inappropriate, never an issue with ‘wardrobe malfunction,’ and interestingly, this guy seems to have quite a collection of boxers—we all agreed we didn’t think we’d seen the same pair twice! Though we all admit we may not really be watching that closely.

He never stops to talk, never stops singing, always sticks to the exact ritual and order, is always smiling, and gives us a little nod! We would love to find out his story, and why he continues to seek us out to provide a moment of entertainment.

But then again, maybe there is no story. Maybe it is just his way of providing a morning smile to a group of walkers!


#walking #dancer #boxers