Life is fun. That’s probably why I want to do it forever. I mean, it’s not always fun. Sometimes it sucks foul, rotten meatguts. But with the right attitude, usually, it’s super fun.
Today was one such day. Started out with the weekly grocery shop and cleaning (whatever), then moved to research (<3), then a meander to the park with Drew to have a little cookout and release some stress. I’d collected sticks during breaks in the day and got our veggie patties and s’mores stuff ready to go.
We met up and made our way to the park, finding the least populated grill there. But, least populated ended up meaning that we had one very interesting and unexpected companion.
His preferred name was Jesus Cristál. Jesus pronounce Heh-soos. He was upper middle years with grey hair to his shoulders. He unpacked a bike trailer (attached to a bike; he was legit) and set out all his stuff at a nearby table. He had fit quite a lot into that bike trailer. Haphazard though he looked, he must have had some semblance of efficiency to make that work.
We chatted a little bit. Despite having some social anxiety, it was the kind of evening where I just felt like accepting what was happening. He was tough to understand but was a pleasant fellow. He asked if we were cooking out as I built our little stick teepee with dryer lint as a fire starter. We affirmed this and he said he had a burger and we told him he was welcome to cook it over the fire. We watched his stuff as he went to the bathroom.
He gave me a cute, knitted hat and a belt (presumably, that he’d found on his journeys) and Drew a t-shirt sporting a revealing Betty Paige. It’s awkward to accept gifts from strangers, but it was clear he meant no harm and asked for nothing but to share our fire (and he didn’t even ask, we’d just offered). He continued to mumble things we half heard and sometimes nodded to, hoping it was the right response. I asked his name and he said a name I didn’t understand and went on to say that the next day he was going to the courthouse to have his named changed to Jesus Cristál. I caught that clearly and said, “Well, as far as I can tell, you’re Jesoos Cristál to me then!” He seemed to like that and went on about Jesus stuff and how he’d do anything for people. He seemed like a genuinely generous guy, despite being obviously homeless and perhaps not fully with it.
He talked about his tent and said we could camp too if we wanted. We declined. He also offered to take us for a ride in his bike trailer. We awkwardly declined. Part of me wanted to though. He clearly wanted to have us.
We made our burgers and one of our friends came over with his daughter. They made s’mores with us but were eager to leave as Jesus Cristál continued to hang out. I think he’d fully settle there for the night. I suspected that it would be a beautiful night. Our friend left; I don’t think he has quite the sense of community we have. 😉
Anyway, Jesus Cristál put his burger meat on the grill once we were done and let it sit for a while. We watched his things as he went about, as we did before.
He came back and asked us about drugs. Not asking us for drugs, just if we did them, like he wanted to know what we thought on the subject. We had an interesting little discussion. Thankfully, it was easier than when he brought up religion (which I was unclear about – he either believed in Jesus, or he thought he was about to be Jesus). We tried to explain that, although weed is great, smoke, in general, is bad for you – even from the fire. I don’t think he quite got it, but he listened. We told him what we’ve tried and he told us he’d tried everything, but doesn’t do heroin. We said that we thought that was a good idea.
He talked about his distaste for violence against women. We also agreed on this.
It was time to leave as both Drew and I had work to do that evening. As we said our farewell, Jesus Cristál asked again if we wanted to take a ride in the bike trailer. This time, timidly, we agreed, our backpacks coming with us. Drew sat down with me on his lap, my legs up on the rear rack. Jesus Cristál showed some insane leg strength and carted us around the park.
Again, he asked for nothing, just seemed cheerful to have done it. I think he liked showing off his bike trailer. I wondered if he’d acquired it recently.
We thanked him, we also left him some of our graham crackers, some chocolate, marshmallows, and an orange. I hope he liked it.
We waved goodbye and I said, “It was good to meet you. See you around, Jesoos Cristál.”
Sometimes there are unexpected ways to appreciate life and enjoy what it brings.