Okay, I mentioned a while ago (on e-Sangha, I think) about the man who was southeast Asian (possibly Indian, Pakistan, etc., or somewhere in the region) who walks back and forth outside for quite a bit of time, as if he were doing walking meditation. A few times, a while ago, I tried to just say "Hello" or "How are you doing?" and in response, he'd wave his arm at me, like some weird gesture, and maybe mumble something indiscernible. He seemed a bit nervous about my dog and one time, she barked at him, and he was startled a bit.
Anyway, I thought he might just be crazy, but I'm still a bit confused: Why would a crazy person walk back and forth, in a straight line, for 30-45 minute sessions, several times a day, every day?
Today, he spoke to me! As I walking away from him, he said, "Bye-bye!" I was surprised to see him speak because I wasn't sure if he even spoke english before. As I spoke to him, I got the impression that he was taking words I was saying and repeating them back to me, like a parrot.
Our conversation went something like this (I might be a bit wrong, because his speech was a bit difficult to understand through his accent and he seemed to be missing a few teeth):
He says, "Bye-bye!"
I turn around and say, "How are you? Is this meditation?" and draw a line along the path with my fingers.
"...Are you meditating? Are you a Hindu, Buddhist, or Jain?"
"You're a Hindu? I'm a Buddhist?" and gesture towards myself.
"What's a Buddhist?"
"It was... founded by Siddartha Gautama..."
"Which Gautama? Who is that?"
"Meditation is very good..."
"Uh... well... take care!"
Again, to reiterate my question: Why would a crazy person walk back and forth in a line, day-after-day? If he's schizophrenic, mentally disabled, has alzheimer's, etc., how could he even function without a caretaker? And if he has a caretaker, why would they let him wander around like this? Or is he just screwing with me?!
Also, although I think he's crazy, sometimes I see him wearing white or grey robes which look like they might belong to some kind of religious group... sort of like (but not identical) to what the local Zen monk wears. And he's skinny enough that he looks like he has a very restrained diet or fasts a lot...