Post 3 – June 3, Ten days until we go.

The Camino de Santiago,
 the del Norte/Primitivo route.
Spain: From Irun to Santiago de Compostela, 500 miles.
Post 3; June 3, 2016, Friday morning 7:00 a.m.  Ten days until we go.
Prepare prepare prepare, for the Camino.

     Echo Park in downtown Los Angeles has a little lake.  And our fearful leader, Tom Gehring has assembled us here to begin our preparation for the Camino de Santiago. And, shall I say—it’s not going well.  Tommy (that’s what I call him) is telling us to prepare prepare prepare, which means we have to get in shape.  So we are here to jog.  — I made it ten steps.  Yeah, that’s about as far as I made it before I was left gasping for more Los Angeles downtown smoggy air.

     Baby Doe 1 here.  Yes, that’s my name.  It’s on my birth certificate.  Anyway I’m handwriting these notes as the rest of the group, Nick, Harold, Tempie, Norm and Tommy, are in various stages of conking out as they try there best to maintain a jog around this little man-made lake.  You should see the outfits these guys are wearing.  I picked up mine at the Outreach Center thrift shop.  Something out of the 60s, paisley, flowers, and peace signs.  Wow, really, we have ten days to go? 

     Look, I get it, once you decide to do the Camino, or any Camino, you have to prepare prepare prepare.  We made that commitment.  It just doesn’t look pretty.  Tommy is telling us that we will be doing this every morning until the Sunday before we leave.  7:00 a.m. every morning.  He gave us a speech, and I hear his voice echoing off the Echo Park lake as he urges each of us forward.  As he passes me, sitting here on the bridge, he grouses at me with a mean nasty look.  I think he said:  “Walk, at least walk if you have to.  WALK!”  I hear him shouting to all the others.  “One mile, at least one Mile.”

     My personal goal today, is to walk around the lake once.  And if, I say if, I can jog around this lake just once, all the way around, before we leave for the Camino, I will be happy with myself.

     I’m sitting here thinking that I have one thing going for me (I’m thin).  You see, I was a trash baby.  My story’s in The Problem Solver.  It’s been several years since a got a breakthrough thanks to this group I’m watching jogging, walking, gasping their way around the lake.  But, I’m still struggling.  I call myself a trash baby because I finally embraced it after decades of fake names, foster homes, homelessness, abandonment . . . and starving most of the time.  I’m thirty-three years old now.  Here’s my Camino:
     Who is the real me now?
     What do I affirm?  I’m a trash baby, I’m a photographer, I’m a . . . person.  What am I?  Who am I?  Now?
     Right now, all I can think of is . . .
     I’m alive.  I’m happy.  And, it’s because of this weird, motley crew of people who saved me.
     I have a lot cut out for me with this Camino.
     And I’ve never been more excited.
     Tommy is right:  Prepare prepare prepare.
     I’m doing it.
     . . .