Saturday, December 30, 2000


I am walking down the street fast, which is how I usually walk when I'm all wrapped up in what I'm thinking about, and I notice this two-year-old in a stroller being wheeled toward me and I look at the kid and it's giving me a knowing look and I have to laugh.
The kid is knowing and I am not.
I am sitting, eating my frozen yogurt with semifresh fruit, staring out the window onto the street and this couple walks in. I think what startles me about them is that they seem to have taken pains to develop together a real slovenly look: fat in the same places, messy in the same ways. Tandem decrepitude, you know, like it was some kind of fashion.Then I notice that they're wearing matching, cheap sunglasses and I have to laugh.
They're a couple and I am not.
Someone is giving out little, gift-wrapped boxes at the corner. It's my instinct to regard her as a danger, as a test I might fail. I think of just whizzing past her, or even of crossing the street. But I'm making a conscious effort these days not to do things like that so I just walk up to her and accept my little powder-blue box. I make myself smile and ask "What's in it?". And she smiles an effortless toothpaste smile and says "Plutonium" and I have to laugh.
She is effortless and I am not.
I am walking down the street that runs by the river, having just passed the turn where the panoramic view is suddenly revealed to the traveler heading south. There's a wire mesh trash basket in my path up ahead and I can see that there's something different about it. When I get a little closer I can see that a sequined belt has been draped over the top and that someone has stuck two silver, high-heeled shoes into holes in the side of the basket. They just hang there, like memorials to the night before, and I have to laugh.
They are just there and I am not.

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