This would have been written sometime in 2005. Shauna and I were living the newlywed life in a small apartment on Hillside Ave. We tended to walk everywhere, mostly because we had the time to do it. Kelsey, Kieran and Erin were all happy ideas in the future.
Beautiful weather today. The green on the trees is so bright I can almost smell it. So bright my eyes turn inward to philosophy when I look. The streets are clean too, and cars rush by noisily, taking their turns making my head twist this way and that, in answer to their predatory growls. I am walking downtown on Douglas, and city hall, with it’s red painted bricks, is still trying to look like more than the poorly built old politico shelter it always was. The bus stop is empty, and I can see by the square that lunch is just starting. The girls are coming out of the offices, each one looking for their spot to eat, someplace free from bums and chemical revolutionaries.
The sun is bright. It rained last night again, and after a few days of nighttime water the grass is lush and spongy under my feet, at least whenever I dare to stray from the asphalt path anyway. I’m feeling like the weather today, all bright and colourful, and each step is feeling particularly perky. It may have been the coffee, but I am guessing that coffee can’t do what my head is feeling. If it could we wouldn’t need anything else in life would we? Just a cup and a cubicle.
The crowds are starting to get thicker, the birds are leaving for quieter environs, and won’t be back until the big rush is over and the crumbs of ten thousand chain lunches is left behind. Who needs to pick at grubs and seeds when fatty bread and deep fried calories are so right there? Fat birds keeping fat people amused, and I am still just walking down Douglas, loving the weather and taking my shoes for a stroll.
My lizard brain is talking a bit. It sees some guys that don’t look good, and now that I am aware of them it’s pretty obvious they are dealers. I am always afraid that as I age I will start to fear the young, in the same way that the alpha male of the troop must inevitably fear the betas. I see it in our species all the time, old men and women keeping the kids down in a hundred well rationalized ways, and I don’t want to end up as that kind of biological stereotype. But even the strongest among us knows that when this sort of vulture is around, care is the best policy. I can almost smell the danger that seems to seep from these guys. Each one with eyes that see through evolution, and lips that draw tight and laugh like knife chatter.
But the sun is so nice today, and soon I walk past the street that the cops have chosen as the best place for them, and then I am alone among the people again, just sampling a hundred random facades as I practice walking calmly. At the end of this street I can see water, and I look up and see that the buildings are a bit older, a bit more gentrified. No trees now, but up above I can still see birds, so we walk together down the road to the water.
What a view! Water blasting the tips off the suns rays, spraying the light around whichever random way it feels like. Meanwhile boats squat on their haunches in the water and think dirty thoughts about gravity, and I wonder about time. If all that light exists, then where does it go when I am done with it? It makes me feel important to think that the energy that made that light was around at the dawn of the universe, and it’s final resting place is a brief electrical charge in my optic nerve. Such small little samples from such vast stores.
A lot of boats today. The royals are out in force, basking in the beauty of the day they created, and making sure we know who is responsible. I smile at them, and I like this game. Walking and smiling, we share a bit of time for one another, and then I turn away from them and they look elsewhere, another audience already jostling for a voice. I like their boats, named after racing horses it seems, and each one looking so fit. Watching the fat seagulls I think to myself that I have never seen a fat boat, and that idea makes me laugh inwardly to myself. A couple standing next to me sees my grin and they grin back, and I suppose they think I am touristing as they are. I offer to take their picture for them and they agree. Snap goes the camera and off they go, their world a slightly happier place. Nice camera, a digital, and it’s click is a computer sound file that plays every time an image is captured, to make sure that people know a picture has been taken. I think about the lack of fat boats and that click and all the iterations of necessity and I giggle again.
Stone smells nice I think, and certainly nicer than we do. I am in front of the Empress now, and I am walking in half step along the water. This is a nice spot, with the little path down and away from the road, it’s quieter. There are more birds too, seagulls again, and some smaller black and brown ones. I can even see a few crows, and I especially like them. If seagulls are really the shithawk scavengers of the bird world, then crows would have to be the capitalists. They look less friendly, but a lot more efficient than seagulls, and even though seagulls are bigger, I would still rather meet a seagull in a dark alley than I would a crow. I can smell stone on my hand because as I thought this to myself I was rubbing my palm on the rock wall next to me. It was hot to the touch and it felt nice, and now my hand smells like mineral age, and I like it. A crow would understand that, but probably not a seagull.
I sit down along this path with my back against the warm rock wall and I stop moving. I am curious to know how the people around me will react to my lack of activity. I am not behaving like I am dead, or stoned, or anything threatening, I just decided to pick a nice spot in the distance on the water, sit down and stare at it. While I do this I notice that the heat from the stone is really quite penetrating, and I very slowly press my back against it a bit harder, kinda hooding my shoulders into it, like a backwards cobra. Meanwhile, during my little erotic press, I realize that people life around me is completely unaware. They are still walking by, and the social salesmen are still ranting about injustice nearby.
The birds see me though, and I can see a small shimmering brown one nearby. I missed him before, so I wasn’t expecting to see him so close. Now that I see him, I notice his friends. All around this path are dozens of little shimmering birds, the sun glancing off of their little feathers in a dozen colours of green and red. They hop, and pick at the very smallest pebbles, and then hop some more. They saw me sit down no doubt, and now they are keeping an eye on me, I suppose to make sure I am not setting myself up as a danger to them. Immobility is unnatural, and so they are suspicious. I like to look at them, and I don’t really know how to appear non-threatening to birds, so I just continue watching them. Another silent understanding between beings, only this time with a lot more honesty.
Do I fit here? The stone is warm, and I like that. People confuse me a bit, but I know it’s just a matter of priorities, so I suppose if I needed to I could learn to understand them. I wish I could see myself through their eyes, because then I would know which way to travel to meet them. Too bad, such a beautiful day and I am all alone in my head. In my head talking to the rich and the birds, admiring their beauty and envying their distance. Funny things, and green leaves still amuse my small minds.
I suppose, in a way, I have to fit here. I am human too, and that means I share their basic software. My lizard brain reminded me of that just a little while back, but I wish it were enough. Somewhere I am still not convinced. Beautiful day though…