Thursday, November 29, 2007

The Man Under the Bridge

I try to spot something new each time I take the train into town. The stretch between University Circle and E.79 is visually stunning, with graffiti covering vast segments of the cement retaining walls and railroad trestles. Mostly tags, the spraypainted or airbrushed designs are artfully done and sometimes span 30’ segments of the multi-tiered walls.

Lately, I’ve been spotting the creation of new tags. Brief outlines have been appearing around areas previously painted over by the city. I noticed a new design sprouting about a month ago, but the progress has been slow.

Closer to Tower City, around E. 9th, the train passes under a bridge where someone has set up residence. On most days, a solitary plastic lawn chair stands sentinel at the edge of the valley. Assorted trash bags litter the area around the chair – another telltale sign that someone is holing up there.

Yesterday, I saw the man walking around up there. It appeared as if he was hanging pairs of pants from the trestlework. He was at least 50’ above us and the train moves fast, so I was only able to catch sight of him for about a second. He was just a dark figure doing his laundry underneath a bridge. Shortly thereafter, my train disappeared below Tower City and I went about my day as usual.

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