The temperature on Thursday was oppressive. It was that kind of "hot" where everyone walks with their head somewhat bowed, that kind that causes TV stations to feature stories about the heat-induced deaths of senior citizens. But on went the hosiery and the heels, a hunter green dress surprisingly free of cat hair, and a strand of fake pearls. I had resumes to deliver, after all! I tucked a bottle of water into my purse, and confidently stepped face first into the cloudless burning!
One bottle of H20 was no match for my thirst, and so my motivation experienced extreme wilting after a few hours. The nylon lining of my dress was sticking to my back. My face became frozen in a semi-squinty, thick-lipped stare that felt like "I'm bearing with the heat, don't ask me to bear with you too."
As I concentrated on placing one foot in front of the other in the direction towards home, experiencing a vague, unfocused wish for more shade trees, I noticed a man coming from the opposite direction. His clothing was well worn, and he was shouting at no one in particular. I had the strong impression that he was a walking explosion; here was a person who had not been able to help himself, nobody had helped him, and now he was shattered. Nobody could reach him, and so he yelled at everything not himself. I resolved not to make eye contact, but I saw him out of the corner of my eye as we passed each other.
He pivoted as he went by. "Look at you! I'll shoot you down!"
The Friday morning rain resulted in a definite cooldown, so going outdoors was a much more tolerable activity. It was fortunate that this was so, because I got somewhat lost and had to traverse substantial distance in heels. I had a generalized sense of where I "was," but the locations of the three streets that I sought were more of a mystery. I knew that they were connected, and I knew that they had to be over "that" way. How far, no clue. Uphill? Maybe? What if you get home before you get there? Well, then that wasn't the right way, was it? I was plagued by flashes of memory that did me little good, such as "Oh, that garage looks awfully familiar," and "I took a picture of that house once, I think!"
There was probably no better place for a small white girl to get turned around, I figured. This was the sort of neighborhood where people could afford to hire others to do their landscaping work for them. I watched a peroxided lady allow her canine to urinate on someone's shrubbery, and immediately formulated a (probably far-fetched) story that this lady was "friends" with whoever lived in that house, in that sort of relationship where one plays friendly but sneaks low blows while the other isn't watching.
I passed so many immaculately groomed lawns before I accidentally stumbled upon one of the three streets. I asked for directions for the second of the three, as it was the one I most wanted to get to. The guidance I was given was incorrect. I took a right and walked .5 mile, only to discover that road came to an end. This was not all bad, however, for it formed a T intersection with the final avenue of the set! Therefore, I knew that the second was surely in the opposite direction.
When my feet decided to call an end to my adventuring by reminding me that heels plus hills equals ouch, I took up post at a bus stop at the top of a hill. I was there for quite awhile, and was fortunate enough to overhear the conversation between a local restaurant owner across the street and the owner of a small silver repair shop. "If they bring you food in under ten minutes," said the former in a heavy accent, "then it is not fresh. I like to give people fresh, good food." He also revealed that if your customer service is not that great, you can compensate for it by having excellent food. Customers will continue to come regardless of service as long as the victuals are tasty.
Sometimes, people seem to vanish. I gave them a precursory glance as I walked past, was so certain that they were there, but when I looked back, they were already gone. The more I pondered the ease with which they escaped my line of sight, the more I wondered if I had an accurate view to begin with. That punk kid in the red t-shirt sitting on the trashbin, where did he go? I didn't just make him up, did I? Or that elderly man who was shuffling up the sidewalk, a blue bag clutched in his right hand. I remember him, I'm sure of it. He had to stop to rest every fifteen feet or so, so his progress was slow. It almost seemed that he was shuffling from thing to thing that he could hold on to, from the signpost, next to the trashcan, and so on. But did he turn left or right when he reached the street corner? Did he even make it that far? I cannot recall.
Rainbow Paratrooper Gobbie all the way!