The summer of 1997 was my first in Rochester, a city of 70,000, and I struggled to find things to do when I wasn't working at Premiere Video. One sunny afternoon, I decided to take a stroll on one of the many bike trails that the town had to offer. Before starting, I took a look at the map that had been posted near the trail and chose to take the path that would lead me back to my car.
I must've took a wrong turn as I kept walking and walking, not feeling I was getting any closer to my vehicle. I finally decided to get off the trail and into the residential neighborhoods where, after some time, I was able to piece together how to get back to my point of origin. One good side to the encounter was that I certainly got my exercise for the day.
On a number of occasions, when I needed to get away from my wife-to-be, I drove to a hillside that was located behind a retail establishment called ShopKo. It was steep going at first, like the side of a cliff, but once up there, I got a good view of the area and was able to chill out a bit.
On one evening, I went to a park located at the edge of town. The sun had recently set as I parked my car. Within seconds, some guy parked right next to me, unnecessary I thought, as there were several other parking spots to be found. Feeling a bit uncomfortable, I pulled out and drove about ten parking places to the right. As I turned in, another man parked next to me. Frustrated at not being able to be left alone, I returned home. I found out later that the park was a gay pickup spot.
The place I wound up spending most of my time outdoors was Silver Lake.
Thirty-two minutes was how long it typically took to circle the body of water. Most of the time, I brought my Walkman along to listen to as I walked. When Tori Amos' new CD came out in the fall of 2001, the first time I listened to it was walking around the lake.
One early evening, as I began my walk, I felt a bowel movement coming on, so hurried a bit and headed to a McDonalds that was located just adjacent to the park. Sometimes, at the end of my walk, I would celebrate by going on the swings that were next to the lodge. One time, I smiled blissedly while doing this and listening to Clint Black's Christmas album. I never swung too long as it would make me dizzy after a time.
Sometimes I'd walk with my friend, Art, but it could get tiring as he would whistle at virtually every woman who passed by. One day, halfway around the trail, we were walking together and I had to urinate badly. I saw a huge pine tree coming up and told him I was going to relieve myself there. I looked around and didn't see anyone else nearby. As I situated myself beneath the tree, Art said I wasn't completely obscured, but went for it, anyway. Feeling much better, we continued on our way.
To relieve some of the boredom from walking around the same ol' lake, I had a bit of fun from time to time. I had a ballcap that I would put on not forward or backward, but sideways. I also had some really far-out glasses that I'd put on, the kind that Jesse Ventura used to wear when he was a wrestler.
I was basically daring other walkers to laugh at me and looked closely at people's reactions as I got closer and passed them by.