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.
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.