downtown characters: walkman guy

A long way back we had a regular I called Walkman Guy who was, like many of our downtown characters, clearly unbalanced but holding it grimly together through a mixture of determination, medication and determinedly eccentric habits.  His trademark was, as you've guessed, a perpetually present walkman, played at deafening levels and accompanied by the furious, seemingly accomplished playing of an invisible electric bass.  He was perpetually in search of books on Jaco Pastorius and also chess books, a favorite subject with his demographic.

I hadn't seen him in years until today- on my way to mail a couple of books I was passing by the burger joint/sports bar by the post office and there was a guy sitting on the bench by their door violently rooting along with some football game being shown inside.  It was Walkman Guy, dressed identically to memory in black low top Converse sneakers, dingy white shirt & navy down jacket.  He wasn't wearing his walkman, but was very loudly exhorting his team.


Fidgeting in place, strenuously clapping, half rising then sitting emphatically back down as if seeking to prevent floating away through the sky.

"Hey, it's Walkman Guy!"  I thought, continuing on my way.

Alas the post office closes at 2 on Saturdays and their little automated kiosk still doesn't handle Media rate so I began my amble back to the shop.  I scanned for Walkman Guy, thinking maybe I could get an update out of him, but he wasn't on his bench.  I figured one of the servers inside had shooed him away...but then spotted him across the street, assaulting a trash can.

"FUCKING SHIT!  What BULLSHIT!  Fucking ALABAMA!  FUCK! FUCK! FUCK!" punctuated by punches and kicks to the unassuming trashcan.

Chess seems a more effective panacea than college football.

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