Why are you walking so close to me? It’s just you, and me, and this vast stretch of lonely sidewalk that empties into the horizon. I have my dance space, you have your dance space, and yet you’re always all up in my dance space, Boston. What it is with you? You are walking faster than me, it’s true, but there’s plenty of room for you to pass me. Six feet or more in which to pass. The width of a small football field in which to pass.
And yet, here you are again, half a foot behind me. I cannot see you, though I can feel your hot breath on the back of my neck. Common sense tells me that no one walks this close, in my blind spot, on a virtually empty sidewalk, unless he or she is about to take my purse. But when I stop and turn to the side, forcing you to pass, it startles you. It turns out you were just plodding along, innocently, mere inches from my spine.
I know you don’t mean any harm, and you seem like such a nice city, and you obviously have no designs on my purse, but please stop it. You’re creeping me out.
Two moments of note on the drive home from Memorial Day weekend:
- A family of three is up on the overpass. They’re wearing cartoonish Uncle Sam hats, and waving a huge American flag. Passing motorists honk ecstatically. We are honking for the common good. We are honking for freedom of the press, and cowboy hats, and the hope of growing rich from our own labor. Once we’ve passed, we stop honking and dig through the bags in the back seat to see if there’s any more beef jerky.
- Amidst acres of artichokes, this small man in his straw hat stands alone under the midday sun. He pauses to look up at the rows unfolding to the horizon, and then steps from each to each, using his hoe to clear debris from the trenches.
This little boy is about three, just learning to talk and to count. He’s naming everything we pass and counting objects as the bus drives along.
A flag! Two flag! One, two, three, four flags!
(We pass the San Francisco City Hall where couples are just leaving their same-sex wedding ceremonies.)
A boy and a girl. … No, a boy and two boy. Two boys.
I love noisemakers; siren whistles are my favorite. They make a happy noise that sounds a little like… a siren, WHOOOOOOPPWEEEEEENNUUUUuuuuuuuuu! I ordered some for the wedding, and was giddy when they arrived. I opened the box and ran my (thoroughly washed) hands through the wealth of siren whistles at my disposal. Then I grabbed a shiny silver whistle for a trial run. I brought it to my expectant lips and gave it a go. The whistle coughed and then responded with a weak, fweeeeee. It sounded not unlike a dying baby seal. They’re so bad that Bryan and I have taken to blowing on them sarcastically.
“I’ve scheduled our appointment for the honeymoon innoculations… fweeeeeee.”
“I can’t wait until Schwarzenegger is our governor… fweeeeee.”
The things actually seem to be wheezing. Of course, now we find them so amusing that we’ve become attached. This means that we’ll most certainly be exiting the church to a chorus of fweeeee.
Flipping through the invitation book at our local stationer.
Me: These are lovely.
Bryan: Wow. Yeah.
Me: They’re not red though.
Bryan: That was my thought.
Me: But do people really remember enough about the invitation to be surprised that it doesn’t match the wedding colors?
Bryan: No way. I can’t imagine a single person doing that.
Me: What if they do? What if there are entire groups of people sitting around wondering why our wedding invitation doesn’t match our table clothes and the bridesmaid dresses?
Bryan: Come on. No one is going to notice.
Me: I think I might be one of those people who noticed.
Bryan: No, you wouldn’t.
Me: I might.
Bryan: Well then, I think you may be the exception to the rule.
Me: And/or the kind of person we wouldn’t want to be friends with anyway.
Bryan: Ha! True. Let’s get them.
Me: Yeah, I always thought he was a little off.
F: I think you’re right about that. It started to sink in when he’s telling me about this dress shirt he has, right?
F: And it’s velour. . .
Me: K . . .
F: And he’s telling me about how he tie dyed it.
Me: What the?
F: Yeah, yeah, wait, it gets better.
Me: K. . .
F: It has a picture of The Golden Gate Bridge on the back.
Me: What? What.
F: Yeah. Yeah.
Me: Oh noooh.
F: Yeah, and he’s, like, proud of this, like telling me exactly how he did it.
Me: Aaa! Ack!
F: So I’m like, “No. No. You must stop talking about this.” ‘Cause sometimes they need that, you know? I think sometimes they like that.
F: Exactly. But he keeps on talking! He’s like, “Well, you know I tie dyed it so it looked . . .” And I’m like (shakes head), “Uh-uh. Uh-uh. You must stop with the talk about this shirt.”
Going for coffee, I hear a woman crying above me. On the sidewalk below her apartment, someone has spray-painted: