When one repeats something over and over for an extended period of time, certain consistencies will inevitably arise. If your heel is rubbing over and over again on a new pair of shoes, you will get a blister. If you lift weights over and over, you will get bigger muscles (so I hear). And, if you drive the same route to work over and over, you will begin to notice other people's routines, which is exactly how I have come to discover Pajama Man.
About a month ago I was driving along NW 22nd Ave. in Portland hurrying to get to work when I realized that the car in front of me suddenly stopped. Before I could utter the words "What in the..." a guy came from nowhere and hopped in the car. While I only saw him for a second, I was able to tell that this dude had literally rolled out of bed and come outside. He was in his 30's and wearing white pajamas with hair that was matted in about 13 different directions. Within moments, the car was moving again and I continued on my way, totally forgetting about the incident.
A few days later, I was driving this exact same route when I approached the same corner where the car had suddenly stopped before and there he was, Pajama Man, in all of his unshaven, pajama wearing, hair-all-over-the-place glory. While it was obvious this guy was not homeless, he almost looked like he could be. And let me just clarify - these are not your run-of-the-mill pajamas. They look as though they are straight out of a WWI Army hospital and I have no idea where one even finds such a get-up. Maybe he is having his early morning smoke? No...no cigarette in hand. Letting his dog out to pee? No...no dog. In the brief moments it took me to pass him with my car, I pondered his reason for standing there in his pajamas and then again, went on my merry way.
As days have passed and trips to work have continued, I have now encountered Pajama Man on the same corner, in the same pajamas morning after morning. I find myself staring at him with curiosity every time I see him and a few times he has noticed and given me a slight smile and nod. Every day he is in the same outfit and every day he appears to be doing absolutely nothing. It has left me asking the question, who are you Pajama Man, and what is your deal?
Well, yesterday I had a new Pajama Man experience that gave me a little more insight, for lack of a better term, into this man's world. It was after work and I was driving home. Slowly I was making my way back down 22nd Ave. when I started to pass the Pajama Man corner, as I now call it. The corner itself is strictly comprised of one large apartment building that has little balconies facing the street. For some reason as I passed the apartment building, I looked over and there was Pajama Man, still in his pajamas, sitting out on a second floor balcony. What made this more interesting to me is what was in the window behind him.
Each balcony in the apartment building is accessible via a sliding glass door. Most people seem to have some plants in the window or lamps - but not Pajama Man. No, no, no. His decor of choice are about 3 or 4 large, naked, plastic baby dolls along with various other little trinkets that I could not make out from my little drive-by. To say that the dolls hanging in the window are creepy is such an understatement. It looks like something out of a horror film that the victim would stumble upon right before their imminent death. But despite really weirding and creeping me out, it has only fueled my curiosity about this guy. Who is he? What is his deal? Why is he always in pajamas? Why, why, why does he have huge baby dolls hanging in his window? Is he crazy? Misunderstood artist? Lonely genius? What is it? I am dying to know!
I perhaps may never find out what exactly is driving Pajama Man in life or what accounts for his little idiosyncrasies that I have come to observe, but I do know that every morning as I approach Pajama Man's corner I will look for him and for possibly some sort of sign or indication as to why he always stands there. In the meantime, I will continue to let my imagination run wild with theories about him as a mad man who lives amongst the yuppies and youngins of NW Portland. Or as the heir of a billion dollar fortune who wants nothing more than to make his own way in this world and does so by looking like a poor, disheveled mess. Or as the scientist who is too brilliant that he cannot connect with other people so he pushes them away in his ultimate search to cure cancer. Whatever it is, I am intrigued and I hope to have more to report from the Land of Pajama Man as the days go by...