March 2, 2013

Free Leopard

"What does 'Free Leopard' mean?" asked BigSis one day. She'd just arrived from the grandmamoo's house and saw one of the many Free Leonard signs on the freeway. "Not leopard, Sis. Leonard".

If you want to know about Leonard, this is a good place to start. This post isn't about Leonard. It's is about the Free Leonard guy, and his signs that make me so happy. 

He has two kinds: one for hand-carrying, and one kind that he stashes all along the freeway in clever places. During the evening commute you see him on the overpass, standing next to his bike, wearing a backpack and shaking his Free Leonard sign. During the morning commute, it's clear that he's been busy, because overnight many of the posted signs will have been rearranged, replaced, repainted.

I love the signs. The guy's handwriting isn't great, but it's certainly distinctive -- rounded lowercase handwriting, sometimes embellished with a star, sometimes with a cross in a circle, usually with a letter or two squished together, as if he forgot about that "r", despite the fact that he's made hundreds of signs over the years. Sometimes, even now, the letters don't always fit, and this fact adds some drama to the signs. I can't quite explain it.

The placement of the signs is also pleasing. Free Leonard Guy has an uncanny ability to predict where local residents will be looking on any given day. When I'm in freeway traffic during the morning commute, and my mind wanders a bit, I always find my gaze resting on one of the signs. His sense of composition is fabulous, and I wish I could show you in photos what I mean. Alas, I'm in a moving vehicle when I see them and I've gone back with mrguy to document the signs, and they're just not the same as seen from the passenger seat. *That's* how good he is with placement.

Anyway, when I looked closely at my photos of Lava Rock Supreme this morning, I couldn't help but laugh. Without trying, I'd finally captured one of the signs.

Free Leonard guy had beat me to Lava Rock Supreme, knowing that people like me would be taking pictures of the last remnants of the restaurant.

Bravo Free Leonard Guy!

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