I've contributed to perhaps the best humor compilation I've ever read. Available now on Amazon!

My second chapbook, "The Second Book of Pearl: The Cats" is now available as either a paper chapbook or as a downloadable item. See below for the Pay Pal link or click on its cover just to the right of the newest blog post to download to your Kindle, iPad, or Nook. Just $3.99 for inspired tales of gin, gambling addiction and inter-feline betrayal.

My first chapbook, I Was Raised to be A Lert is in its third printing and is available both via the PayPal link below and on smashwords! Order one? Download one? It's all for you, baby!

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Your Pace or Mine?

No one ever looks up.

At least that’s how it appears. 

I reflect on this knowledge, knowledge I’ve gleaned over the last decade or so since installing myself, at least weekly, on a chair in the second-floor porch.  A place of both smothering heat and debilitating cold, the porch is windowed on three sides, a mid-tree-line observation post from where I play the game – and feel free to join me here – of Ordinary Person or Up-to-No-Goodnik?

The world is, surprisingly, full of rather ordinary persons.

At least in my neighborhood.

It took me a good year to glom on to that fact.   Having come from a first-ring suburb with less than a quarter of the foot traffic, my initial reaction to the runners, the Frisbee-ers, the people sitting in their cars eating lunch?

I was pretty sure that they were probably part of a cartel, no doubt just hours from taping bags of heroin to their thighs prior to coming to the park for a little sunshine. 

But now?

Those people over there!  The ones arguing – what are they doing?  They are arguing.  And from the looks of it, they won’t be together much longer.

That guy – what’s he doing?  He’s walking his dog.

How about that guy over there?  Look away.  That guy is picking his nose.

The world is a rich and varied place, and we are richly rewarded for it.

I sat on the porch last night, in the dark, thinking my thoughts and shooing the cat from insinuating herself into them when three joggers appeared on the sidewalk in the park across the street.  Two short and sturdy, one taller and heavier, their strides matched perfectly.

It’s a large block that this park sits on, two blocks long, one block wide.  There’s a pool, a basketball court, a jungle of swing sets and a community building.  There’s room for three skating rinks in the winter.

And it wasn’t too much longer after they passed, maybe 7, 8 minutes, when they ran by again.

After that, I was fascinated.  Who were they?  How long would they run?  Did I have time to go grab a beer?

After the third go-round, only one short-and-sturdy ran by, vigorously waving his arms, shaking them.

And then he went by again.

And then the other two came by, slower paced, shaking their arms as well.

Thirty minutes later, short-and-sturdy rejoined the two he had separated from earlier.  They stood in a pool of light, their sweaty faces beaming under the street lamp.  From my perch, I listened:  muffled words, good-natured laughter.  I couldn't understand their words, but I understood what they were saying. 

And then they ran on, their strides matching perfectly. 


Maybe we don’t have to look up.


Maybe we just need to look around. 

19 comments:

Shelly said...

Truth. A gem of truth.

Yamini MacLean said...

Hari OM
I am running in tandem here, as the kids squeal and parents bang car doors; and the dog upstairs bounces on the bed as it awaits the homecomers... Lovely pace indeed Pearl! YAM xx

jenny_o said...

I'm not sure what THEY were saying, but I'm positive what I'd be saying, and it would have some of those asterisks, ampersands, and percent signs in it as well as possibly an exclamation mark :)

Evocative piece today, Pearl.

Delores said...

A thought provoking post today Pearl.

Jocelyn said...

They probably were dropping off bags of drugs around the neighborhood.

Joanne Noragon said...

I enjoy seeing your Minnesota-isms. To call someone a Goodnick, anythingnik, I recall from my Ohio childhood. It must have come from a TV show.
Glom onto, however, I would have considered as completely local as devil strips, but here is is in Minnesota.
Small world.
Jogging, however, is not in my vocabulary.

jenny_o said...

"Glom onto" is a common expression here in Nova Scotia, too. In our house anyway :)

Leenie B said...

Pearl, your masterful observation helps make you a skillful writer and an entertaining read. Thanks for the view from your porch. Cheers!

Anne Frank — "In spite of everything I still believe that people are really good at heart."

Pearl said...

:-)

I regularly search for drugs in the park. I've yet to find any. SOMEDAY!! :-)

I think we forget just how ordinary most people are. Even when you don't know the language, what are they saying? They are usually saying the same thing everyone says.

You hungry?
What do you want to do next?
Slow down!
My feet hurt.
I love you.

jenny_o said...

How true, Pearl. A lovely true thing.

Elephant's Child said...

I do love it when you share your people watching/listening skills. And wisdom.

River said...

A windowed porch overlooking a park? I'm green with envy. What a vantage point!

Gigi said...

People watching is my second favorite sort. My first favorite is reading about your people watching experiences.

Jogging on the other hand? Never gonna be one of my favorites.

Al Penwasser said...

You mean people can see me picking my nose?
I...uh...um...I mean 'walking my dog.'

Jo-Anne Meadows said...

A good one

Daisy said...

I moved into an apartment in June. Pearl, you would have sooo much material here! There are so many interesting people, of all ages and circumstances...and ... I have a balcony on the third floor!

Ms Scarlet said...

*wails* I have no-one to watch!
But there are birds... and I am cottoning on to their language.
Sx

Linda O'Connell said...

Years ago when I lived in the city, I used to sit out front on our porch swing and watch cars passing by. More than half of the drivers had their index digit in their schnoz.

The Jules said...

a couple of years ago I found a bag of white powder (m-kat, apparently) on the pavement in town and handed it over to the po-po, who took my details.

I asked if I got to keep it if it remained unclaimed.

Turns out not.