Thursday, March 05, 2009

Musings on Warm Weather

I ran across the lawn to intercept my B&N packages. “Can I save you a trip?”

The UPS lady looked at me askance and wordlessly handed over my boxes. Then she rolled slowly down the street, idled in front of a nearby house, and spied on me until I shambled back into the house. She really did wait (maybe she was on a break). Perhaps she didn’t recognize me with my new short hair ( I barely recognize myself) and was determined to make sure I wasn't some light-fingered Jehovah's Witness camping on my porch. Her mission done, she roared off in the truck. (In the pic below, don't the trees look ready to wash their hair? It's the reflection!)

It was a stunning, high-blue-skied, warm day of dripping sunshine - too lovely to stay indoors and read Bleak House. After a lazy morning with Esther and the the Jellybys, I mounted my bicycle and headed downtown to the Coffee Garden, skirting the smashed glass on the bridge - why do alienated drunks break bottles on pedestrian bridges in the spring? And where do they get the glass since everything is made of plastic nowadays? Though glass is biodegradable, so there should be a concerted effort to shut down plastic factories and go back to glass and WAXED CARTONS.

After grabbing my coffee and cookie, I sat outside on a bench squinting (forgot my sunglasses) and counting the number of people in black. Fifteen in black inside, five in the garden. People in pastels and raggedy smokers in smoke-bleached garments tended to dominate the garden. Black-clad business prima donnas clung to their artificial air-conditioned comfort zone. The air was good today, according to an air quality emissions expert. Perhaps we should have spread the word and liberated the primas? But who would have been their eco-leader? Not I, because sadly I committed a fashion faux pas wearing jeans with muddy hems (from the road) and a mail-order blouse I didn't have the patience to return. A wardrobe of black can make infinite fashion statements. If you don't know who you are, black is also handy. That stretchy black dress can be tarted up with green jewelry and a scarf around the waist. That black jacket looks rather well with your black silk t-shirt, slacks, and dominatrix boots.

Then I went into the library, which is shaped like a giant airplane made apparently out of copper screen. I grabbed a book, The Tea-Olive Birdwatching Society, and plopped down at a table. The birdwatcher characters were all Baptists who inherited some land and were apparently prepared to murder to keep it intact. Since I'm not as religious and deluded as Beulah-Land and Love-Divine and the other birdwatchers named after hymn phrases, I certainly wasn't keen on their murder plan. So much for cozies.... I discreetly moved away from the nearest homeless person after a bug appeared on my table. SQUASH. I GOT IT. Traumatized, I curled up in a ghastly meta-armchair upstairs. The back of the chair is several feet back even from tall people's backs, so that if I wanted to sit back comfortably and didn't want my long legs dangling above the floor, my one hope was to find a footstool and spread out as though on a chaise longue. Footstool, footstool! There are no footstools. Someone has taken them home, or something. So I had to sit cross-legged, muddy soles up: and if that didn't make me look like a homeless person....well! I was expecting to be herded out any minute. I was reading a library book that made very little sense. I abandoned The Tea-Olive Birdwatching Society conspicuously beside a computer. I was afraid to put it back: bugs.

I saw a boat roaring - BRRRRRrRR- on the river and didn't even mind. Several rangers were hauling and chopping trees downed by last year's brutal storms. Alas, the reading tree is gone. For many summers I saw the same man reading next to the river under a particular tree I always called the reading tree.

1 comment:

Ellen said...

Lovely piece. I like the photo too. We have gone warm and it's a delight. My problem is I can't read outside; if I take my book, I tend to ignore it. I have taken to going for walks this week.

It does make one feel better to be alive. On your blog on visiting the cafe filled with students: I see a lot of them at GMU and know how varied they are. Sometimes I feel very fond of them (especially the hard-workers, genuine students, lonelier ones); funny I realize the movie, _The class_ actually aroused my animosity rather than good feelings the way your blog did.