There is nothing I enjoy more than waking up early on a weekend morning. I know many adults my age enjoy the pleasures of sleeping in, but I on the other hand do not. I love being out on the DC streets where it feels still, lifeless. I am able to walk both of my dogs without keeping their leashes taught the entire time. My back and forearms finally get a break. Walking in the early morning allows me to be present, rather than playing Frogger in the evening trying to figure out how many different ways I can dodge and avoid other dog’s and their owners (who most happen to be oblivious to the fact that some dogs are dog-aggressive and some dogs have anxiety). Walking in the morning allows me to observe the world in ways I wouldn’t otherwise. Like, I know there is a shiny disco ball hanging from the ceiling on the third floor of a rowhouse on Swaan street, or there is a woman who rides her Peloton in the basement of her apartment facing T Street each morning. It’s those noticings that only occur on those soft, silent mornings while walking my two dogs. Everyone else is fast asleep, while I am awake, alert, and ready for what’s to come. Now I said everyone is fast asleep and that is not entirely true. There are those early morning characters who I have come to expect and wonder constantly about.
The Lady In Black
When I get to 16th and T around 6:15 AM, I always see this more distinguished woman picking up pieces of trash alongside of the street. She is always dressed in black, from head to toe. She wears a wide-brimmed hat, which happens to be black, black leggings, black Mary-Janes, and a black jacket. She always carries a plastic grocery bag with her and meanders along collecting little bits of paper, plastic, and other forms of discarded material. We have never spoken. I just observe from afar. This morning, the 5th of March, some careless human left a scooter in the middle of the sidewalk. The Lady in Black was there and threw the scooter into the bushes as it made this loud beeping sound. Again, I did not speak to her, but I did feel a palpable sense of anger as she hurled that scooter out of everyone’s path. She’s probably misunderstood, as she keeps to herself and focuses on her one duty. The Lady In Black is just trying to take care of the environment in a way that suits her. She makes sure the sidewalks are clean for everyone else who eventually wake only to crowd the streets of DC. I can guarantee she will be out tomorrow morning too.
For now, I will leave you with the image of her. There are more characters to come, but for now one will do just fine.