Friday Afternoon Nothingness

I am at Sloan's Lake for some out-of-office late-afternoon breathing room.  There's another man in the car parked three spaces down from me and I wonder if he's thinking what I'm thinking, which is: what are you doing here?  This is what I'm usually doing midday-- looking for clues. I wonder today, as the same marathon man circles the three-mile lake three times, if I'll see my brother in the stretched out line of lunch-time runners, doing three miles with the broken elbow he keeps forgetting about.  This is where he runs.  Wierder things have happened.

This is where I used to play soccer as a kid and when I stopped coming, I thought the whole place had disappeared.  Does a tree that falls in the woods make a sound for no ears?  Yes.  We just don't hear it until later when it's an echo.  If echoes are sounds twice, maybe we hear things better when we come back to revisit.

An old fisherman in a Broncos hat pulls some fabric into leathery strips on his plaid plastic lawn chair.  Two poles lean against it aside an empty orange bucket.  Welcome to rundown Denver on a windy Friday—an echo so slow there's barely sound besides those of birds.

There are also geese here, who stand and look and walk tentatively, like they've never known where home is and will never find out.  The running man pushes through their s-necks and they bwowk at him.  Ten Hispanic children with two white adults attempt the shore, and a dad carrying an Army duffel bag and a son with a long rod are not long to follow.

There are also two men doing the same thing as me: one in a new Cadillac and one in a tin junker while the trees shed crescent-shaped tangerine leaves.  I am thinking about the president, alive and eating lunch under the same sky as these normal people and me.  I wonder if George Bush ate a pb&j anytime in the last four years and how out of touch he must be if he hasn't.

The old man who is fishing, questionably, starts talking to the young father and brings his gray sweatshirted arm in a long arc towards the windblown water.  The son is straying, tipping like a glass balanced on the rocks, but then he makes the same motion, unspooling an imaginary line.  I make a mini-cast.  We are all imitating each other all the time.

Also, an old man, with a white mustache, Arizona-colored skin, and a newsboy hat pulls up in a buttercup-colored truck and smiles straight at me from under his wrinkles.  He looks like an Italian farmer and catches me looking at him for too long.  He stops smiling.  He is wondering if I am onto him and what he does at lunch.  I am wondering if he is onto me and what I do at lunch.  This is the only day I've done this! I am saying to him behind my closed windows.  It is raining hyphens on my windshield and the living things are quickening across the grass.

Where do all these people work and live?  What are we all doing here?  If we all see the same things, why don't we have the same thoughts in the same places?  We regenerate our spit and opinions separately all day, often failing to to realize our acts are simple chunks along one long floss of solidarity.  I'm waiting to see what the next president might eat for lunch.