To be an avid walker in Fresno is to sometimes get a unique perspective on male-female relationships.
Here are two brief examples.
I was headed from The Bee to City Hall about two weeks ago, walking east on Tulare Street. I was on the north side of the street and nearing the office buildings that are home to the Fresno EOC. To the south was Chukchansi Park.
The EOC does a lot of fine work in those offices and throughout the county. EOC officials several years ago invited me and several other reporters on a tour of key EOC programs. We saw where the EOC prepares meals for seniors. We visited training programs that give hope to young adults. We were introduced to grandparents who mentor youngsters with few adult role models at home.
Yahaira Garcia-Perea arranged the tour. She did an excellent job. One message came through loud and clear: The EOC wants all people to be healthy and productive.
Back to my walk to City Hall. I was zipping along when I noticed a man and a woman crossing Tulare Street, headed in my direction. The man was carrying an infant safety seat, the kind that locks into a car. A baby was strapped in the safety seat.
I figured the man, woman and baby were headed to the EOC offices. The EOC has several programs for women, infants and children.
I thought: It’s good that the little one has two parents. That’s a good start in life.
Then the man and woman stopped in front of me. The man was facing away from me. He was wearing a nice pair of dark slacks. I could see into his right front pocket. Clearly visible was the top of the distinctive red-and-white Marlboro cigarette pack. The pack wasn’t in danger of falling out.
If I could see the pack, then surely the EOC folks would see it.
The woman must have thought the same thing. The couple had stopped in front of me not to discuss what they were going to do in the EOC offices. They stopped so the woman could push the Marlboros deeper into the man’s pocket.
This couple had developed a working relationship.
Today, I was headed on foot from The Bee to the Convention Center at about 12:45 p.m. I went south on G Street and stopped for a red light at Fresno Street. I was on the intersection’s northwest corner.
Catty-corner to me, on the intersection’s southeast corner, were a man and a woman. There were headed west on Fresno Street. They wanted to get to the corner with The Cosmopolitan tavern.
The man was on foot. He had two shopping carts tied end-to-end. The rear cart was full of stuff. The front cart had stuff in it. The front cart also had the woman. She was sitting on the stuff, her lower legs dangling over the front of the cart.
You may not be familiar with the geography of this intersection. This is where Fresno Street as you head east into downtown dips under the Union Pacific railroad tracks. That means the man hauling the two shopping carts had to go uphill to get to The Cosmo corner.
The man was struggling to get some momentum for the uphill pull. The woman made no effort to get out and help. I thought: Perhaps she is disabled.
The man looked like he was in his 30s. He was tall and looked strong. He took a deep breath and, on a green light, pulled the two carts across G. Then he looked toward me. He had a red light but didn’t stop. He and the carts dodged the traffic. He got to my side, then headed west on Fresno Street, past the adult bookstore on that corner.
I got a good look at the woman. She may have had health problems, but they weren’t visible to me. From my vantage point, she looked like she was in the cart simply because she didn’t want to walk. At one point, she kicked her legs like she was one of the Radio City Music Hall Rockettes. She sat up as the man pulled the carts into the alley between the adult bookstore and Bank of America. Then she slumped back.
I retraced my steps on G Street. I wanted to see what the man and the woman were doing in the alley. The parking lot behind the adult bookstore gave me a good view of the alley. The man had stopped the carts next to a trash bin behind the bank. He was busy looking through the trash. The woman was still in the front cart. She held a long black scarf in front of her face. She studied it as if she were at a department store and couldn’t decide whether to buy it.
I continued on my journey to the Convention Center.
This couple had also developed a working relationship.