Sporadic Moments

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There is no point to this post, no more than any other thing in our daily lives.

This morning, I sat gleefully rewarding the little finches in the cool morning air with little pieces of Cheerios. They seemed confused by the texture. I heard a foot scrape repeatedly with an unusual syncopation on the stones of the path. As I looked up, I locked eyes with an older gentleman. His hair was uncombed and his face was grayed and scruffy. His eyes were deeply shrouded in what I can best describe as a hard life. I imagined I could see his past behind his eyes, years of harsh unexpected surprises queueing behind him. His clothes were torn and his pants were covered in grime, the kind you seldom see on Tide commercials, the ones inhabited by bright, cheery folks with ample time to devote to pristine laundry. I nodded and said, “Good morning, sir” to him as he crossed in front of me, even as he held my gaze for a longer second than I expected. Then, I smelled his passing and I felt about as bad as anyone could feel for the next few seconds as I watched him shuffle his way out of my sight. Out of my life, he went. Something about his eyes reminded me of my dad at one of his low points. The birds were still chirping, though.
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I went to eat Tex-Mex for lunch. Really, I went to eat a mound of pico de gallo cleverly disguised as a meal. The place my wife and I chose was Acambaro, the one with the interior uglier than my sister and with service so inconsistent that its rhythm would be impossible to transform into a musical. Despite the ceilings evoking an abandoned drug house, the pico de gallo there of late rivals the plates served at Olympus.
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On our way back home from my culinary indulgence, we traversed Butterfield Coach Road, a wide, expansive multi-lane busy street on our side of town. A rider sans helmet was atop a rickety moped, trailing a long rope which had apparently been used in the 1920s for nefarious purposes. Attached to it was a young male striding a skateboard, wearing stylish sunglasses but also no helmet or protective gear of any kind. The moped was pulling the future organ donor at about 35 mph. Apart from the brazen illegality of it and the sheer audacious stupidity, I made a note to nominate these two citizens for a Darwin’s Award upon my return home. In their defense, they were certainly demonstrating the unholy trinity of carpe diem, Yolo, and narcissism. I can’t say I didn’t laugh or admire their total brazenness. My wife and I both had a chuckle at the idea of a Springdale policeman rounding the curve behind us and seeing the duo as they proudly gave him something to do.
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Later, I drove over to the Willie George Park by the Tyson Parkway. I had never walked this part of the area in the daylight, which means I had something in common with Edward Cullen. I turned South and walked toward the terminus of Hylton Road where it was unpaved. I began to smell it as I neared it: a house that easily could be the predominant example for Hoarders. This house has so much detritus of cars, boats, furniture, and treasures in the yard that it seemed as if a tornado had thrown the contents of an entire backwoods flea market into its yard. The smell was a combination of mold, failed genetic experiments and bad dreams. I am not one who can be described as having a weak stomach. With the blistering sun overhead though, I felt my stomach preparing to file a formal written complaint if the smell didn’t lessen. I didn’t attempt to look into the windows, in fear that something other than a human face might appear from inside. The dirt road didn’t seem to be welcoming to visitors. That house had all the appeal of a recently-cooked bag of rats. I’ll wager that no adherents to any fringe religion had dared traverse the complexity of that house’s yard – and if they had, their skeletons still remained there, in limbo.
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I walked back toward the car and then remembered that I had also never visited the canopied trail area on the far side while the sun was overhead. I walked around and stood on the trail, listening to the million tiny cymbals of noise the insects created for me. I had the trail entirely to myself. Walking back, I stood in the middle of the vast sports field with no one nearby, as the sun watched me from overhead. I couldn’t believe that Springdale continued to create these spaces for me to witness.

Surely other people know that these worlds exist in the middle of their lives.

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