I think Bob’s gone.
Longtime readers will recall Bob, the Crazy Homeless Guy who lived under the gazebo next to the art center. On a stretch of beach where most of the occupants are just guys doing a bad Jimmy Buffett impression, Bob was the real deal.
He was always there when I came by on my run. Sleeping bag over the left shoulder, fists raised to the ocean, screaming at the top of his voice. I would come back a half hour later. Still there. I would pass him occasionally as he walked from the beach. My tentative hello was met with a loud growl, like a junkyard dog standing watch over a rusted F-150.
But for the last week, Bob has been missing. I hadn’t run this course for a while, so at first I thought maybe I just missed him. But after a week of runs, I fear the Bob Show has rolled its final credits.
I suppose I’ll never know what happened to him. Did he move somewhere else? I find that hard to believe. That spot was his home for at least the entire summer. Maybe he’s a lawyer in Florida and had to go back to work. Maybe he got hit by a car? Ocean is a busy road and he didn’t seem to understand the concept of traffic. Was he secretly the owner of the snow cone stand and has pulled up stakes? Not that there were really any stakes. I think we already covered that one.
Did the authorities finally get tired of him and take him in? I have to guess he wasn’t going to make the Chamber of Commerce brochure for beach attractions. What are his chances if he’s institutionalized? I hate it when stray cats and dogs are caught. Better to let them take their chances on the street than be euthanized in week. Did he just die from life? Or death?
Or maybe they found a cure for him. A week into lockup, someone discovered “Hey, look! He becomes normal after eating Peanut M&Ms!!!” Of course, he’d be released and go back to Butterfingers and the cycle would just start over again.
Today, a couple and their little girl were fishing at the spot under the gazebo. It could’ve been a Rockwell painting. I guess I should be glad. But I’m not.
I miss Bob. I hope he’s OK.