The new job may be taking up more brain space than I had estimated.
I stand inside the bus stop, kitty-corner from Mary Tyler Moore. There she stands, brass-covered, permanently cheery, her beret forever about to be flung into the air. My collapsible umbrella, a pink and black striped number with, apparently, an objection to being collapsed, hangs from my left hand.
I may or may not be breathing through my mouth.
It’s hard to tell, you see. The synapses with which I normally detect that sort of thing stopped firing a number of hours ago, the result of a level of confusion previously experienced, I imagine, by people who find themselves washed ashore, perhaps coming to consciousness on a beach somewhere.
Meanwhile, I and a half-dozen of my new friends wait, slightly moistened, staring up the street, the direction from which our buses will come.
Just outside the all-glass bus stop, there is a planter, a large, brick-and-mortar affair filled with flora, with fauna, with the occasional cigarette butt or sample-sized liquor bottle. I watch as the rain continues to fall on the flowers, on their pretty little faces.
The woman next to me smiles, and I smile back.
“I hate to say it,” she says, “but we really needed that rain.”
Her use of the past tense confuses me. “Yes,” I say carefully, lest she take offense, “I wonder how long it’s going to continue.”
She gives me a funny look. Perhaps the woman with the pink and black umbrella is not compos mentis.
She smiles again. “How long have you been standing in here?”
“I don’t know,” I admit, “ten minutes? Fifteen?”
She chuckles. “It stopped raining about 10 minutes ago,” she says.
I point at the planter. “But –“
“Oh, honey,” she says. “That’s the sprinkler system. See?”
I open my eyes – and I see that she is right. The only place, in all of Minneapolis, where there was still water falling, was inside the planter, just across from the statue of Mary Tyler Moore.
And to think: My eyes were open that whole time.