It has recently come to my attention that I frequently mention strange people like "Cervantes" and "Fat Spaniel" on my Twitter, but give no indication of who these oddly named characters are. So here is a character guide to the people you might encounter if you follow jakethegirl on Twitter:
Baby Talk Lady: Unfortunately, Baby Talk Lady is one of the more regular characters in my life. She lives on my floor, around the corner, and she talks to her dog (Fat Spaniel) as if he were a 6-month-old child. And not just sometimes. She is CONSTANTLY cooing at him and squealing when he does something cute, even at 2 a.m. when they're standing outside my door waiting for the elevator. Even when he is running into the road and causing car accidents. Even when he is peeing on someone's front steps.
Fat Spaniel: It's not Fat Spaniel's fault that he got such a lame owner. In fact, I recently discovered that he is actually extremely well-behaved when Baby Talk Lady is out of sight. Last week I got off the elevator and FS came barreling around the corner to greet me. I could hear Baby Talk Lady trying to lock her door (and talking baby talk), but she seemed to be having trouble because she never appeared. Fat Spaniel trotted behind me to my door and I, in a momentary lapse of judgment, held it open for him to see if he wanted to come in. FS passed the test: he sat down and looked at me, saying, "I know you're trying to trick me. I know you think I'm poorly behaved. But give me a break--you would act out too if you had this lady talking at you all the time. I'm not coming in." We stared at each other for a few seconds and then I said, "Suit yourself," and closed the door.
Cervantes: Cervantes is a guy who always seems to be at the gym, no matter when I go. He earned his nickname by virtue of his beard, which is grey and pointy, and his accent, which is Spanish. He's a really nice guy, but I hope I never learn his real name because I like to think he is secretly living the life of a modern-day Don Quixote.
Harold: Harold is Harold's real name. He is a 54-year-old black man who looks like he's about 35. He went to college in Illinois, came out here to make his fortune, and unfortunately acquired a drug habit. I met him at the bus stop, where he used to hang out during the day. Then he went to rehab for a while but didn't make it to the end of the program. Sometimes, while he's sweeping the Church's Chicken parking lot in exchange for lunch, he sees me at the bus stop and drops by to say hello. He is kind, friendly, smart (street-smart and book-smart), and hardworking, but he has that one single weakness that cancels out all his virtues. I hope that someday he'll kick his habit because he's a really really neat guy and he deserves to have a job and a home and a family.
Cohort 1: This is my class, the 23 student teachers that I spend half my life with. Every single one of them is awesome. I'm so lucky that I'm part of the cohort. We have a lot of fun.
Casey: Casey is my fiance and roommate. He's pretty much the best ever.
Naked Man: On the way to the gym, I pass through a little park. Sometimes there is a man sitting under a tree in one of those folding chairs. If it's 60-70 degrees, he wears a track suit. If it's 70-75, he takes off the jacket and wears a t-shirt or a muscle shirt. If it's 75-85 degrees, no shirt. Above 85 degrees, his outfit consists of: short shorts. He always tries to talk to me when he's naked. It's gross.
5 hours ago